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THE 

LAST DAIS OF POMPEII. 



I 



The Last Days of 

Pompeii 



BT 



THE RIGHT HON. LORD LYTTON 



"Such is Vesuvius! and these things take place In It every year. But all 
eruptions which have happened since would bo trifling, even if all summed into 



one, compared to what occurred at the period wo refer to. 



«i 



' Day was turned into night, and light into darkness ; an inexpressible quantity 
of dust and ashes was poured out, deluging land, sea, and air, and burying two 
entire cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the people were sitting in tho 
theatre ! "—Dion Oassius, lib. lxvi. 



LONDON 
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS 

THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE 

NEW YORK: 416 BROOME STREET 

1873 



2/4 . f . 1*40 



The Last Days of 

Pompeii 



BT 



THE EIGHT HON. LORD LYTTON 



"Such is Vesuvius! and these things take place in It every year. But all 
eruptions which have happened since would bo trifling, even if all summed into 
one, compared to what occurred at the period we refer to 

" Day was turned into night, and light into darkness ; an inexpressible quantity 
of dust and ashes was poured out, deluging land, sea, and air, and burying two 
entire cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the people wore sitting in tho 
theatre ! "—Dion Oassius, lib. lxvi. 



LONDON 
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS 

THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE 

NEW YORK* 416 BROOME STREET 

1873 



2/t . y\ LtO 



LONDOX 
BRADBURY, AGNRW, & CO., PRINTERS WH1TEFRIARS. 



PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1834. 



On visiting those disinterred remains of an ancient City x 
which, more perhaps than either the delicious breeze or the 
cloudless sun, the violet valleys and orange-groves of the 
South, attract the traveller to the neighbourhood of Naples ; 
on viewing, still fresh and vivid, the houses, the streets, 
the temples, the theatres of a place existing in the 
haughtiest age of the Roman empire — it was not un- 
natural, perhaps, that a writer who had before laboured, 
however unworthily, in the art to revive and to create, 
should feel a keen desire to people once more those deserted 
streets, to repair those graceful ruins, to reanimate the 
bones which were yet spared to his survey ; to traverse the 
gulf of eighteen centuries, and to wake to a second exist- 
ence — the City of the Dead ! 

And the reader will easily imagine how sensibly this 
desire grew upon one whose task was undertaken in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Pompeii — the sea that once 
bore her commerce, and received her fugitives, at his feet 
— and the fatal mountain of Vesuvius, still breathing forth 
smoke and fire, constantly before his eyes ! * 

I was aware from the first, however, of the great diffi- 
culties with which I had to contend. To paint the man- 
ners, and exhibit the life, of the Middle Ages, required the 
hand of a master genius; yet, perhaps, that task was 
Blight and easy in comparison with the attempt to portray 
a far earlier and more unfamiliar period. With the men 
and customs of the feudal time wo have a natural sym- 
pathy and bond of alliance ; those men were our own 

* Nearly the whole of this work was written at Naples last winter 
0832-3). 



VI PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1834. 

ancestors — from those customs we received our own — the 
creed of our chivalric fathers is still ours — their tombs yet 
consecrate our churches — the ruins of their castles yet 
frown over our valleys. We trace in their struggles for 
liberty and for justice our present institutions ; and in 
the elements of their social state we behold the origin of 
our own. 

But with the classical age we have no household and 
familiar associations. The creed of that departed religion, 
the customs of that past civilisation, present little that is 
sacred or attractive to our northern imaginations; they 
are rendered yet more trite to us by the scholastic pedan- 
tries which first acquainted us with their nature, and are 
linked with the recollection of studies which were imposed 
as a labour, and not cultivated as a delight. 

Yet the enterprise, though arduous, seemed to me worth 
attempting ; and in the time and the scene I have chosen, 
much may be found to arouse the curiosity of the reader, 
and enlist his interest in the descriptions of the author. 
It was the first century of our religion ; it was the most 
civilised period of Rome ; the conduct of the story lies 
amidst places whose relics we yet trace ; the catastrophe 
is among the most awful which the tragedies of Ancient 
History present to our survey. 

From the ample materials before me, my endeavour has 
been to select those which would be most attractive to a 
modern reader; — the customs and superstitions least 
unfamiliar to him — the shadows that, when reanimated, 
would present to him such images as, while they repre- 
sented the past, might be least uninteresting to the specu- 
lations of the present. It did, indeed, require a greater 
self-control than the reader may at first imagine, to reject 
much that was most inviting in itself ; but which, while 
it might have added attraction to parts of the work, would 
have been injurious to the symmetry of the whole. Thus, 
for instance, the date of my story is that of the short reign 
of Titus, when Rome was at its proudest and most gigantic 
eminence of luxury and power. It was, therefore, a most 
inviting temptation to the Author to conduct the cha- 
racters of his tale, during the progress of its incidents, 
from Pompeii to Rome. What could afford such materials 
for description, or such field for the vanity of display, as 
that gorgeous city of the world, whose grandeur could 



PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1884. vii 

lend so bright an inspiration to fancy — so favourable and 
so solemn a dignity to research ? But, in choosing for 
my subject — my catastrophe, the Destruction of Pompeii, 
it required but little insight into the higher principles of 
art to perceive that to Pompeii the story should be rigidly 
confined. 

Placed in contrast with the mighty pomp of Borne, the 
luxuries and gaud of the vivid Campanian city would have 
sunk into insignificance. Her awful fate would have 
seemed but a petty and isolated wreck in the vast seas 
of the imperial sway; and the auxiliary I should have 
summoned to the interest of my story, would only have 
destroyed and overpowered the cause it was invoked to 
support. I was therefore compelled to relinquish an 
episodical excursion so alluring in itself, and, confining my 
story strictly to Pompeii, to leave to others the honour 
of delineating the hollow but majestic civilisation of 
Borne. 

The city, whose fate supplied me with so superb and 
awful a catastrophe, supplied easily, from the first survey 
of its remains, the characters most suited to the subject 
and the scene : the half-Grecian colony of Hercules, ming- 
ling with the manners of Italy so much of the costumes of 
Hellas, suggested of itself the characters of Glaucus and 
lone. The worship of Isis, its existent fane, with its false 
oracles unveiled — the trade of Pompeii with Alexandria — 
the associations of the Sarnus with the Nile, — called forth 
the Egyptian Arbaces, the base Calenus, and the fervent 
Apaecides. The early struggles of Christianity with the 
heathen superstition suggested the creation of Olinthus : 
and the burnt fields of Campania, long celebrated for the 
spells of the sorceress, naturally produced the Saga of 
Vesusius. For the existence of the Blind Girl, I am 
indebted to a casual conversation with a gentleman, well 
known amongst the English at Naples for his general 
knowledge of the many paths of life. Speaking of the 
utter darkness which accompanied the first recorded erup- 
tion of Vesuvius, and the additional obstacle it presented 
to the escape of the inhabitants, he observed that the blind 
would be the most favoured in such a moment, and find 
the easiest deliverance. In this remark originated the 
creation of Nydia. 

The characters, therefore, are the natural offspring of the 



The Last Days of 

Pompeii 



BT 



THE RIGHT HON. LORD LYTTON 



"Such is Vesuvius! and these things take place In it every year. But all 
eruptions which have happened since would bo trifling, even if all summed into 



one, compared to what occurred at the period we refer to. 



" Day was turned into night, and light into darkness ; an inexpressible quantity 
of dust and ashes was poured out, deluging land, sea, and air, and burying two 
entire cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the people wore sitting in the 
theatre ! "—Dion Cabsius, lib. Ixvi. 



LONDON 
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS 

THE BROADWAY, LUDQATE 

NEW YORK: 416 BROOME STREET 

1873 



4 



viii PREFACE TO THE EDITION OP 1834. 

scene and time. The incidents of the tale are equally con- 
sonant, perhaps, to the then existent society ; for it is not 
only the ordinary habits of life, the feasts and the forum, 
the baths and the amphitheatre, the common-place routine 
of the classic luxury, which we recall the past to behold ; 
— equally important, and more deeply interesting, are the 
passions, the crimes, the misfortunes, and reverses that 
might have chanced to the shades we thus summon to life ! 
We understand any epoch of the world but ill if we do 
not examine its romance. There is as much truth in the 
poetry of life as in its prose. 

As the greatest difficulty in treating of an unfamiliar 
and distant period is to make the characters introduced 
"live and move" before the eye of the reader, so such 
should doubtless be the first object of a work of the present 
description; and all attempts at the display of learning 
should be considered but as means subservient to this, the 
main requisite of fiction. The first art of the Poet (the 
creator) is to breathe the breath of life into his creatures — 
the next is to make their words and actions appropriate to 
the era in which they are to speak and act. This last art 
is, perhaps, the better effected by not bringing the art 
itself constantly before the reader — by not crowding the 
page with quotations, and the margin with notes. The 
intuitive spirit which infuses antiquity into ancient images, 
is, perhaps, the true learning which a work of this nature 
requires ; without it, pedantry is offensive*— with it, useless. 
No man who is thoroughly aware of what Prose Fiction has 
now become — of its dignity, of its influence, of the manner 
in which it has gradually absorbed all similar departments 
of literature, of its power in teaching as well as amusing — 
can so far forget its connection with History, with 
Philosophy, with Politics — its utter harmony with 
Poetry and obedience to Truth — as to debase its nature 
to the level of scholastic frivolities : he raises scholar- 
ship to the creative, and does not bow the creative to the 
scholastic. 

With respect to the language used by the characters in- 
troduced, I have studied carefully to avoid what has always 
seemed to mo a fatal error in those who have attempted, in 
modern times, to introduce tho beings of a classical age.* 

■ 

• What the strong common sense of Sir Walter Scott has expressed so 



PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1834. ix 

Authors have mostly given to them the stilted sentences, 
the cold and didactic solemnities of language which they 
find in the more admired of the classical writers. It is an 
error as absurd to make Romans in common life talk in 
the periods of Cicero, as it would be in a novelist to endow 
his English personages with the long-drawn sentences of 
Johnson or Burke. The fault is the greater, because, while 
it pretends to learning, it betrays in reality the ignorance 
of just criticism — it fatigues, it wearies, it revolts — and we 
have not the satisfaction, in yawning, to think that we 
yawn eruditely. To impart anything like fidelity to the 
dialogues of classic actors, we must beware (to use a 
university phrase) how we " cram " for the occasion ! 
Nothing can give to a writer a more stiff and uneasy gait 
than the sudden and hasty adoption of the toga. We must 
bring to our task the familiarised knowledge of many 
years ; the allusions, the phraseology, the language gene- 
rally, must flow from a stream that has long been full ; the 
flowers must be transplanted from a living soil, and not 
bought second-hand at the nearest market-place. This 

well in his Preface to "Ivanhoe" (1st edition J, appears to me at least as 
applicable to a writer who draws from classical as to one who borrows from 
feudal antiquity. Let me avail myself of the words I refer to, and humbly 
and reverently appropriate them for the moment : — " It is true that I neither 
can, nor do pretend, to the observation [observance ?] of complete accuracy 
even in matters of outward costume, much less in tho more important points 
of language and manners. But the same motive which prevents my writing 
the dialogue of the niece in An^lo-Saxon, or in Norman-French [V» Latin 
or in Greek], and wnich prohibits my sending forth this essay printed with 
the types of Caxton or Wynken de Worde [written with a reed upon Jive 
rolls of parchment, fastened to a cylinder, and adorned with a boss], prevents 
my attempting to confine myself within the limits of the period to which 
my story is laid. It is necessary, for exciting interest of any kind, that the 
subject assumed should be, as it were, translated into the manners as well as 

the language of the age we live in. 

******** 

"In point of justice, therefore, to the multitudes who will, I trust, devour 
this book with avidity [hem /], I have so far explained ancient manners in 
modern language, and so far detailed the characters and sentiments of my 
persons, that the modern reader will not find himself, I should hope, mucn 
trammelled by tho repulsive dryness of mere antiquity. In this, I respect- 
fully contend, I have in no respect exceeded the fair license duo to tho 
author of a fictitious composition. 

" It is true," proceeds my authority, " that this license is confined within 
legitimate bounds; the author must introduce nothing inconsistent with 
the manners of the age." — Preface to " Ivanhoe'* 

I can add nothing to these judicious and discriminating remarks; they 
form the canons of true criticism, by which all fiction that portrays the past 
should be judged. 



X PREFACE TO THE EDITION OP 1834. 

advantage — which is, in fact, only that of familiarity with 
our subject — is one derived rather from accident than 
merit, and depends upon the degree in which the classics 
have entered into the education of our youth and the studies 
of our maturity. Yet, even did a writer possess the ut- 
most advantage of this nature which education and study 
can bestow, it might be scarcely possible so entirely to 
transport himself, to an age so different from his own, but 
that he would incur some inaccuracies, some errors of in- 
advertence or forgetf ulness. And when, in works upon the 
manners of the Ancients — works even of the gravest cha- 
racter, composed by the prof oundest scholars — some such 
imperfections will often be discovered, even by a critic in 
comparison but superficially informed, it would be far too 
presumptuous in me to hope that I have been more fortu- 
nate than men infinitely more learned, in a work in which 
learning is infinitely less required. It is for this reason 
that I venture to believe that scholars themselves will be 
the most lenient of my judges. Enough if this book, what- 
ever its imperfections, should be found a portrait — unskilful, 
perhaps, in colouring, faulty in drawing, but not altogether 
unfaithful to the features and the costume of the age which 
I have attempted to paint. May it be (what is far more 
important) a just representation of the human passions and 
the human heart, whose elements in all ages are the same ! 



PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1850. 



This work has had the good fortune to be so general a 
favourite with the Public, that the Author is spared the 
task of obtruding any comments in its vindication from 
adverse criticism. The profound scholarship of German 
criticism, which has given so minute an attention to the 
domestic life of the ancients, has sufficiently testified to the 
general fidelity with which the manners, habits, and cus- 
toms, of the inhabitants of Pompeii have been described in 
these pages. And writing the work almost on the spot, 
and amidst a population that still preserve a strong family 
likeness to their classic forefathers, I could scarcely fail to 
catch something of those living colours which mere book- 
study alone would not have sufficed to bestow ; it is, I 
suspect, to this accidental advantage that this work is prin- 
cipally indebted for a greater popularity than has hitherto 
attended the attempts of scholars to create an interest, by 
fictitious narrative, in the manners and persons of a classic 
age. Perhaps, too, the writers I allude to, and of whose 
labours I would speak with the highest respect, did not 
sufficiently remember, that in works of imagination, the 
description of manners, however important as an accessary, 
must still be subordinate to the vital elements of interest, 
viz., plot, character, and passion. And, in reviving the 
ancient shadows, they have rather sought occasion to dis- 
play erudition, than to show how the human heart beats 
the same, whether under the Grecian tunic or the Roman 
toga. It is this, indeed, which distinguishes the imitators 
of classic learning from the classic literature itself. For, 
in classic literature, there is no want of movement and 
passion — of all the more animated elements of what we 
now call Romance. Indeed, romance itself, as we take 
it from the Middle Ages, owes much to Grecian fable. 
Many of the adventures of knight-errantry are borrowed 
either from the trials of Ulysses, or the achievements of 



xii PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1850. 

Theseus. And while Homer, yet unrestored to his throno 
among the poets, was only known to the literature of early 
chivalry, in a spurious or grotesque form — the genius of 
Gothic fiction was constructing many a tale for Northern 
wonder from tho mutilated fragments of the divine old 
tale-teller. 

Amongst those losses of the past which we have most to 
deplore are the old novels or romances for which Miletus 
was famous. But, judging from all else of Greek literature 
that is left to us, there can be little doubt that they were 
well fitted to sustain the attention of lively and impatient 
audiences by the same arts which are necessary to the 
modern tale-teller: that they could not have failed in 
variety of incident and surprises of ingenious fancy ; in the 
contrasts of character ; and, least of all, in the delineations 
of tho tender passion, which, however, modified in its 
expression by differences of national habits, forms the main 
subject of human interest, in all tho multiform varieties of 
fictitious narrative — from the Chinese to the Arab — from* 
the Arab to tho Scandinavian — and which, at this day, 
animates the tale of many an itinerant Boccaccio, gathering 
his spell-bound listeners round him, on sunny evenings, by 
the Sicilian seas. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



BOOK I. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OP POMPEII. 

" Ho, Diomed, well met ! Do you sup with Glaucus 
lo-night ? " said a young man of small stature, who wore 
his tunic in those loose and effeminate folds which proved 
him to be a gentleman and a coxcomb. 

" Alas, no ! dear Clodius ; he has not invited me," re- 
plied Diomed, a man of portly frame and of middle age. 
" By Pollux, a scurvy trick ! for they say his suppers are 
the best in Pompeii." 

"Pretty well — though there is never enough of wine 
for me. It is not the old Greek blood that flows in his 
veins, for he pretends that wine makes him dull the next 
morning." 

"There may be another reason for that thrift," said 
Diomed, raising his brows. "With all his conceit and 
extravagance he is not so rich, I fancy, as he affects to be, 
and perhaps loves to save his amphora better than his 
wit." 

" An additional reason for supping with him while the 
sesterces last. Next year, Diomed, we must find another 
Glaucus." 

" He is fond of 'the dice, too, I hear." 

" He is fond of every pleasure ; and while he likes the 
pleasure of giving suppers, we are all fond of Mm" 

"Ha, ha, Clodius, that is well said! Have you ever 
seen my wine-cellars, by-the-by ? " 

" I think not> my good Diomed." 



14 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

"Well, you must sup with me some evening; I have 
tolerable mureenee * in my reservoir, and I will ask Pansa 
the aedile to meet you." 

" 0, no state with me ! — Perricos odi apparatus, I am 
easily contented. Well, the day wanes ; I am for the baths 
— and you " 

" To the questor — business of state — afterwards to the 
temple of Isis. Vale I " 

"An ostentatious, bustling, ill-bred fellow," muttered 
Clodius to himself, as he sauntered slowly away. "He 
thinks with his feasts and his wine-cellars to make us 
forget that ho is the son of a freedman : — and so we will, 
when wo do him the honour of winning his money; 
these rich plebeians are a harvest for us spendthrift 
nobles." 

Thus soliloquising, Clodius arrived in the Via Domi- 
tiana, which was crowded with passengers and chariots, 
and exhibited all that gay and animated exuberance of life 
and motion which we find at this day in the streets of 
Naples. 

The bells of the cars as they rapidly glided by each 
other jingled merrily on the ear, and Clodius with smiles 
or nods claimed familiar acquaintance with whatever 
equipage was most elegant or fantastic : in fact, no idler 
was better known in Pompeii. 

" What, Clodius ! and how have you slept on your good 
fortune ? " cried, in a pleasant and musical voice, a young 
man, in a chariot of the most fastidious and graceful 
fashion. Upon its surface of bronze were elaborately 
wrought, in the still exquisite workmanship of Greece, 
reliefs of the Olympian games : the two horses that drew 
the car were of the rarest breed of Parthia ; their slender 
limbs seemed to disdain the ground and court the air, and 
yet at the slightest touch of the charioteer, who stood 
behind the young owner of the equipage, they paused 
motionless, as if suddenly transformed into stone — lifeless, 
but lifelike, as one of the breathing wonders of Praxiteles. 
The owner himself was of that slender and beautiful sym- 
metry from which the sculptors of Athens drew their 
models ; his Grecian origin betrayed itself in his light but 
clustering locks, and the perfect harmony of his features. 

* Murmnm— lampreyi. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 15 

He wore no toga, which in the time of the emperors had 
indeed ceased to be the general distinction of the Romans, 
and was especially ridiculed by the pretenders to fashion ; 
but his tunic glowed in the richest hues of the Tyrian dye, 
and the fibulaB, or buckles, by which it was fastened, 
sparkled with emeralds : around his neck was a chain of 
gold, which in the middle of his breast twisted itself into 
the form of a serpent's head, from tho mouth of which 
hung pendent a large, signet ring of elaborato and most 
exquisite workmanship; tho sleeves of the tunic were 
loose, and fringed at tho hand with gold : and across the 
waist a girdle wrought in arabesque designs, and of tho 
same material as the fringe, served in lieu of pockets for 
the receptacle of the handkerchief and tho purse, the stilus 
and the tablets. 

" My dear Glaucns ! " said Clodius, " I rejoico to see 
that your losses have so little affected your mien. Why, 
you seem as if you had been inspired by Apollo, and your 
face, shines with happiness like a glory; any one might 
take you for the winner, and me for tho loser." 

" And what is there in the loss or gain of those dull 
pieces of metal that should change our spirit, my Clodius? 
By Venus, while yet young, we can cover our full locks 
with chaplets — while yet the cithara sounds on unsated 
ears — while yet the smile of Lydia or of Chloe flashes over 
our veins in which the blood runs so swiftly, so long shall 
we find delight in the sunny air, and make bald time itself 
but the treasurer of our joys. You sup with me to-night, 
you know." 

" Who ever forgets tho invitation of Glaucus 1 " 

" But which way go you now ? " 

" Why, I thought of visiting the baths : but it wants 
yet an hour to the usual time." 

" Well, I will dismiss my chariot, and go with you. So, 
so, my Phylias," stroking the horse nearest to him, whick 
by a low neigh and with backward ears playfully acknow- 
ledged the courtesy : " a holiday for you to-day. Is he 
not handsome, Clodius P " 

"Worthy of Phoebus," returned the noble parasite, — "or 
of Glaucus." 



16 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 



CHAPTER II. 

the blind flower-girl, and the beauty op fashion. — the 
Athenian's confes 

ARBACES OF EGYPf. 



Athenian's confession. — the reader's introduction to 



Talking lightly on a thousand matters, the two young 
men sauntered through the streets : they were now in that 
quarter which was filled with the gayest shops, their open 
interiors all and each radiant with the gaudy yet har- 
monious colours of frescoes, inconceivably varied in fancy 
and design. The sparkling fountains, that at every vista 
threw upwards their grateful spray in the summer air ; 
the crowd of passengers, or rather loiterers, mostly clad in 
robes of the Tyrian dye ; the gay groups collected round 
each more attractive shop ; the slaves passing to and fro 
with buckets of bronze, cast in the most graceful shapes, 
and borne upon their heads ; the country girls stationed at 
frequent intervals with baskets of blushing fruit, and 
flowers more alluring to the ancient Italians than to their 
descendants (with whom, indeed, " latet anguis in lierha" 
a disease seems lurking in every violet and rose),* the 
numerous haunts which fulfilled with that idle people the 
office of cafes and clubs at this day ; the shops, where on 
shelves of marble were ranged the vases of wine and oil, 
and before whose thresholds, seats, protected from the sun 
by a purple awning, invited the weary to rest and the 
indolent to lounge — made a scene of such glowing and 
vivacious excitement, as might well give the Athenian 
spirit of Glaucus an excuse for its susceptibility to joy. 

" Talk to me no more of Rome," said he to Clodius. 
" Pleasure is too stately and ponderous in those mighty 
walls : even in the precincts of the court — even in the 
Golden House of Nero, and the incipient glories of the 
palace of Titus, there is a certain dulness of magnificence — 
the eye aches — the spirit is wearied ; besides, my Clodius, 
we are discontented when we compare the enormous luxury 
and wealth of others with the mediocrity of our own state. 
But here we surrender ourselves easily to pleasure, and we 

* See note (a) at the end. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 17 

have the brilliancy of luxury without the lassitude of its 
pomp." 

" It was from that feeling that you chose your summer 
retreat at Pompeii ? " 

" It was. I prefer it to Baiae : I grant the charms of 
the latter, but I love not the pedants who resort there, 
and who seem to weigh out their pleasures by the 
drachm.'* 

"Yet you are fond of the learned, too; and as for 
poetry, why your house is literally eloquent with ^schylus 
and Homer, the epic and the drama." 

" Yes, but those Romans who mimic my Athenian an- 
cestors do everything so heavily. Even in the chase they 
make their slaves carry Plato with them ; and whenever 
the boar is lost, out they take their books and their 
papyrus, in order not to lose their time too. When the 
dancing-girls swim before them in all the blandishment of 
Persian manners, some drone of a freedman, with a face of 
stone, reads them a section of Cicero " De Officiis." Un- 
skilful pharmacists ! pleasure and study are not elements 
to be thus mixed together' — they must be enjoyed sepa- 
rately : the Romans lose both by this pragmatical affecta- 
tion of refinement, and prove that they have no souls for 
either. Oh, my Clodius, how little your countrymen know 
of the true versatility of a Pericles, of the true witcheries 
of an Aspasia ! It was but the other day that I paid a 
visit to Pliny : he was sitting in his summer-house writing, 
while an unfortunate slave played on the tibia. His 
nephew (oh ! whip me such philosophical coxcombs !) was 
reading Thucydides* description of the plague, and nod- 
ding his conceited little head in time to the music, while 
his lips were repeating all the loathsome details of that 
terrible delineation. The puppy saw nothing incongruous 
in learning at the same time a ditty of love and a descrip- 
tion of the plague.' ' 

" Why they are much the same thing," said Clodius. 

" So I told him, in excuse for his coxcombry ; — but my 
youth stared me rebukingly in the face, without taking the 
jest, and answered, that it was only the insensate ear that 
the music pleased, whereas the book (the description of 
the plague, mind you !) elevated the heart. ' Ah ! ' quoth 
the fat uncle, wheezing, ' my boy is quite an Athenian, 
always mixing the utile with the dvlce.' O Minerva, how 



18 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

I laughed in my sleeve ? While I was there, they came to 
tell the boy-sophist that his favourite freedman was just 
dead of a fever. ' Inexorable death ! ' cried he ; — * get me 
my Horace. How beautifully the sweet poet consoles us 
for these misfortunes ! ' Oh, can these men love, my 
Clodius ? Scarcely even with the senses. How rarely a 
Roman has a heart ! He is but the mechanism of genius 
— he wants its bones and flesh." 

Though Clodius was secretly a little sore at these re- 
marks on his countrymen, he affected to sympathise with 
his friend, partly because he was by nature a parasite, and 
partly because it was the fashion among the dissolute 
young Romans to affect a little contempt for the very 
birth which, in reality, made them so arrogant ; it was the 
mode to imitate the Greeks, and yet to laugh at their own 
clumsy imitation. 

Thus conversing, their steps were arrested by a crowd 
gathered round an open space where three streets met ; 
and, just where the porticos of a light and graceful temple 
threw their shade, there stood a young girl, with a flower- 
basket on her right arm, and a small three-stringed instru- 
ment of music in the left hand, to whose low and soft 
tones she was modulating a wild and half-barbaric air. 
At every pause in the music she gracefully waved her 
flower-basket round, inviting the loiterers to buy ; and 
many a sesterce was showered into the basket, either in 
compliment to the music or in compassion to the songstress 
—for she was blind. 

" It is my poor Thessalian, ,, said Glaucus, stopping ; " I 
have not seen her since my return to Pompeii. Hush ! her 
voice is sweet ; let us listen." 

THE BLIND FLOWEB-GIEL'S SONG. 



* Buy my flowers — buy— I pray ! 

The blind girl comes from afar ; 
If the earth be as fair as I hear them say, 

These flowers her children are ! 
Do they her beauty keep ? 

They are fresh from her lap, I know ; 
For I caught them fast asleep 

In her arms an hour ago. 

With the air which is her breath— 

Her soft and delicate breath — 
Orer them murmuring low 1 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 19 

On their lips her sweet kiss lingers yet, 
And their cheeks with her tender tears are wet. 
For she weeps— that gentle mother weeps — 
(As morn and night her watch she keeps, 
With a yearning heart and a passionate care) 
To see the young things grow so fair ; 

She weeps — for love she weeps ; 

And the dews are the tears she weeps 

From the well of a mother's lore I 

ii. 

Ye have a world of light, 

Where love in the loved rejoices ; 
But the blind girl's home is the House of Night, 

And its beings are empty voices. 

As one in the realm below, 
I stand by the streams of woe ! 
1 hear the vain shadows glide, 
I feel their soft breath at my side. 

And I thirst the loved forms to see, 
And I stretch my fond arms around, 
And I catch but a shapeless sound, 

For the living are gnosts to me. 

Come buy — come buy ?«— „ 

Hark ! how the sweet things sigh 
(For they have a voice like ours), 
'The breath of the blind girl closet 
The leaves of the saddening roses— 
We are tender, we sons of light. 
We shrink from this child of night ; 
From the grasp of the blind girl free ufl : 
We yearn for the eyes that see us — 
We are for night too gay. 
In your eyes we behold the day — 
buy— buy the flowers ! ' " 

" I must have yon bunch of violets, sweet Nydia," said 
Glaucus, pressing through the crowd, and dropping a 
handful of small coins into the basket; "your voice is 
more charming than ever." 

The blind girl started forward as she heard the Athe- 
nian's voice; then as suddenly paused, while the blood 
rushed violently over neck, cheek, and temples. 

" So you are returned ! " said she, in a low voice ; and 
then repeated half to herself, " Glaucus is returned ! " 

" Yes, child, I have not been at Pompeii above a few 

days. My garden wants your care, as before ; you will 

visit it, I trust, to-morrow. And mind, no garlands at my 

house shall be woven by any hands but those of the pretty 

Nydia." 

02 



20 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

Nydia smiled joyously, but did not answer; and Glaucus, 
placing in bis breast the violets he had selected, turned 
gaily and carelessly from the crowd. 

" So, she is a sort of client of yours, this child ? " said 
Clodius. 

" Ay — does she not sing prettily ? She interests me, 
the poor slave ! Besides, she is from the land of the 
Gods' hill — Olympus frowned upon her cradle — she is of 
Thessaly." 

" The witches' country." 

" True : but for my part I find every woman a witch ; 
and at Pompeii, by Venus ! the very air seems to have 
taken a love-philtre, so handsome does every face without 
a beard seem in my eyes." 

" And lo ! one of the handsomest in Pompeii, old 
Diomed's daughter, the rich Julia ! " said Clodius, as a 
young lady, her face covered by her veil, and attended 
by two female slaves, approached them, in her way to the 
baths." 

" Fair Julia, we salute thee ! " said Clodius. 

Julia partly raised her veil, so as with some coquetry to 
display a bold Roman profile, a full dark bright eye, and a 
cheek over whose natural olive art shed a fairer and softer 
rose. 

" And Glaucus, too, is returned ! " said she, glancing 
meaningly at the Athenian. "Has he forgotten," she 
added, in a half -whisper, " his friends of the last year ? " 

"Beautiful Julia! even Lethe itself , if it disappear in 
one part of the earth, rises again in another. Jupiter does 
not allow us ever to forget for more than a moment ; but 
Venus, more harsh still, vouchsafes not even a moment's 
oblivion." 

" Glaucus is never at a loss for fair words." 

" Who is, when the object of them is so fair ? " 

" We shall see you both at my father's villa soon," said 
Julia, turning to Clodius. 

" We will mark the day in which we visit you with a 
white stone," answered the gamester. 

Julia dropped her veil, but slowly, so that her last glance 
rested on the Athenian with affected timidity and real 
boldness ; the glance bespoke tenderness and reproach. 

The friends passed on. 

" Julia is certainly handsome," said Glaucus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 21 

" And last year you would have made that confession in 
a warmer tone." 

" True ; I was dazzled at the first sight, and mistook for 
a gem that which was but an artful imitation." 

" Nay/' returned Clodius, " all women are the same at 
heart. Happy he who weds a handsome face and a large 
dower. What more can he desire ? " 

Glaucus sighed. 

They were now in a street less crowded than the rest, at 
the end of which they beheld that broad and most lovely 
sea, which upon those delieious coasts seems to have re- 
nounced its prerogative of terror, — so soft are the crisping 
winds that hover around its bosom, so glowing and so 
various are the hues which it takes from the rosy clouds, 
so fragrant are the perfumes which the breezes from the land 
scatter over its depths. From such a sea might you well 
believe that Aphrodite rose to take the empire of the earth. 

" It is still early for the bath," said the Greek, who was 
the creature of every poetical impulse; "let us wander 
from the crowded city, and look upon the sea while the 
noon yet laughs along its billows." 

" With all my heart," said Clodius ; " and the bay, too, 
is always the most animated part of the city." 

Pompeii was the miniature of the civilisation of that age. 
Within the narrow compass of its walls was contained, as 
it were, a specimen of every gift which luxury offered to 
power. In its minute but glittering shops, its tiny palaces, 
its baths, its forum, its theatre, its circus — in the energy 
yet corruption, in the refinement yet the vice, of its people, 
you beheld a model of the whole empire. It was a toy, a 
plaything, a showbox, in which the gods seemed pleased to 
keep the representation of the great monarchy of earth, 
and which they afterwards hid from time, to give to the 
wonder of posterity ; — the moral of the maxim, that under 
the sun there is nothing new. 

Crowded in the glassy bay were the vessels of commerce 
and the gilded galleys for the pleasures of the rich citizens.- 
The boats of the fishermen glided rapidly to and fro ; and 
afar off you saw the tall masts of the fleet under the com- 
mand of Pliny. Upon the shore sat a Sicilian, who, with 
vehement gestures and flexile features, was narrating to a 
group of fishermen and peasants a strange tale of ship- 
wrecked mariners and friendly dolphins : — just as at this day, 



22 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

in the modern neighbourhood, yon may hear upon the Mole 
of Naples. 

Drawing his comrade from the crowd, the Greek bent 
his steps towards a solitary part of the beach, and the two 
friends, seated on a small crag which rose amidst the smooth 
pebbles, inhaled the voluptuous and cooling breeze, which 
dancing over the waters, kept music with its invisible feet. 
There was, perhaps, something in the scene that invited 
them to silence and reverie. Clodius, shading his eyes from 
the burning sky, was calculating the gains of the last 
week ; and the Greek, leaning upon his hand, and shrink- 
ing not from that sun, — his nation's tutelary deity, — with 
whose fluent light of poesy, and joy, and love, his own veins 
were filled, gazed upon the broad expanse, and envied, 
perhaps, every wind that bent its pinions towards the shores 
of Greece. 

" Tell me, Clodius," said the Greek at last, " hast thou 
ever been in love ? " 

" Yes, very often." 

" He who has loved often," answered Glaucus, " has 
"loved never. There is but one Eros, though there are 
many counterfeits of him." 

"The counterfeits are not bad little gods, upon the 
whole," answerd Clodius. 

" I agree with you," returned the Greek. " I adore even 
the shadow of Love ; but I adore himself yet more." 

"Art thou, then, soberly and honestly in love? Hast 
thou that feeling which the poets describe — a feeling that 
makes us neglect oui suppers, forswear the theatre, and 
write elegies r 1 should never have thought it. You dis- 
semble well." 

" I am not far gone enough for that," returned Glaucus, 
smiling, " or rather I say with Tibullus, — 

' He whom love rules, where'er his path may be, 
Walks safe and sacred/ 

In fact, I am not in love ; but I could be if there were but 
occasion to see the object. Eros would light his torch, but 
the priests have given him no oil." 

" Shall I guess the object? — Is it not Diomed's daughter ? 
She adores you, and does not affect to conceal it ; and, by 
Hercules, I say again and again, she is both handsome and 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 23 

rich. She will bind the door-posts of her husband with 
golden fillets." 

" No, I do not desire to sell myself. Diomed's daughter 
is handsome, I grant : and at one time, had she not been 
the grandchild of a freed man, I might hav e Yet no — 

she carries all her beauty in her face ; her manners are not 
maidenlike, and her mind knows no culture save that of 
pleasure." 

" You are ungrateful. Tell me, then, who is the for- 
tunate virgin ? " 

" You shall hear, my Clodius. Several months ago I was 
sojourning at Neapolis,* a city utterly to my own heart, 
for it still retains the manners and stamp of its Grecian 
origin, — and it yet merits the name of Parthenope, from 
its delicious air and its beautiful shores. One day I entered 
the temple of Minerva, to offer up my prayers, not for 
myself more than for the city on which Pallas smiles no 
longer. The temple was empty and deserted. The recol- 
lections of Athens crowded fast and meltingly upon me : 
imagining myself still alone in the temple, and absorbed in 
the earnestness of my devotion, my prayer gushed from my 
heart to my lips, and I wept as I prayed. I was startled 
in the midst of my devotions, however, by a deep sigh ; I 
turned suddenly round, and just behind me was a female. 
She had raised her veil also in prayer : and when our eyes 
met, methought a celestial ray shot from those dark and 
smiling orbs at once into my soul. Never, my Clodius, 
have I seen mortal face more exquisitely moulded : a cer- 
tain melancholy softened and yet elevated its expression : 
that unutterable something which springs from the soul, 
and which our sculptors have imparted to the aspect of 
Psyche, gave her beauty I know not what of divine and 
noble : tears were rolling down her eyes. I guessed at 
once that she was also of Athenian lineage ; and that in 
my prayer for Athens her heart had responded to mine. I 
spoke to her, though with a faltering voice — ' Aj*t thou not, 
too, Athenian ? ' said I, ' O beautiful virgin ! ' At the 
found of my voice she blushed, and half drew her veil 
across her face, — ' My forefathers' ashes/ said she, ' repose 
by the waters of Ilyssus : my birth is of Neapolis ; but my 
heart, ds my lineage, is Athenian.' — * Let us, then,' said I, 

• Naples. 



24 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

' make our offerings together : ' and, as the priest now 
appeared, we stood side by side, while we followed the 
priest in his ceremonial prayer ; together we touched the 
knees of the goddess — together we laid our olive garlands 
on the altar. I felt a strange emotion of almost sacred 
tenderness at this companionship. We, strangers from a 
far and fallen land, stood together and alone in that temple 
of our country's deity : was it not natural that my heart 
should yearn to my countrywoman, for so I might surely 
call her ? I felt as if I had known her for years ; and that 
simple rite seemed, as by a miracle, to operate on the 
sympathies and ties of time. Silently we left the temple, 
and I was about to ask her where she dwelt, and if I might 
be permitted to visit her, when a youth, in whose features 
there was some kindred resemblance to her own, and who 
stood upon the steps of the fane, took her by the hand. 
She turned round and bade me farewell. The crowd 
separated us : I saw her no more. On reaching my home 
I found letters, which obliged me to set out for Athens, for 
my relations threatened me with litigation concerning my 
inheritance. When that suit was happily over, I repaired 
once more to Neapolis ; I instituted inquiries throughout 
the whole city, I could discover no clue of my lost country- 
woman, and, hoping to lose in gaiety all remembrance of 
that beautiful apparition, I hastened to plunge myself 
amidst the luxuries of Pompeii. This is all my history. I 
do not love ; but I remember and regret." 

As Clodius was about to reply, a slow and stately step 
approached them, and at the sound it made amongst the 
pebbles, each turned, and each recognised the new-comer. 

It was a man who had scarcely reached his fortieth year, 
of tall stature, and of a thin but nervous and sinewy frame. 
His skin, dark and bronzed, betrayed his Eastern origin; 
and his features had something Greek in their outline 
(especially in the chin, the lip, and the brow), save that 
the nose was somewhat raised and aquiline ; and the bones, 
hard and visible, forbade that fleshy and waving contour 
which on the Grecian physiognomy preserved even in man- 
hood the round and beautiful curves of youth. His eyes, 
large and black as the deepest night, shone with no vary- 
ing and uncertain lustre. A deep, thoughtful, and half- 
melancholy calm seemed unalterably fixed in their majestic 
and commanding gaze. His step and mien were peculiarly 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 25 

sedate and lofty, and something foreign in the fashion and 
the sober hnes of his sweeping garments added to the 
impressive effect of his quiet countenance and stately form. 
Each of the young men, in saluting the new-comer, made 
mechanically, and with care to conceal it from him, a 
slight gesture or sign with their fingers ; for Arbaces, the 
Egyptian, was supposed to possess the fatal gift of the evil 
eye. 

" The scene must, indeed, be beautiful," said Arbaces, 
with a cold though courteous smile, " which draws the gay 
Clodius, and Glaucus the all-admired, from the crowded 
thoroughfares of the city." 

" Is Nature ordinarily so unattractive ? " asked the 
Greek. 

" To the dissipated — yes." 

"An austere reply, but scarcely a wise one. Pleasure 
delights in contrasts ; it is from dissipation that wo learn 
to enjoy solitude, and from solitude dissipation." 

" So think the young philosophers of the Garden," re- 
plied the Egyptian ; " they mistake lassitude for meditation, 
and imagine that, because they are sated with others, they 
know the delight of loneliness. But not in such jaded 
bosoms can Nature awaken that enthusiasm which alone 
draws from her chaste reserve all her unspeakable beauty : 
she demands from you, not tho exhaustion of passion, but 
all that fervour, from which you only seek, in adoring her, 
a release. When, young Athenian, the moon revealed herself 
in visions of light to Endymion, it was after a day passed, 
not amongst the feverish haunts of men, but on the still 
mountains and in the solitary valleys of the hunter." 

" Beautiful simile ! " cried Glaucus ; " most unjust ap- 
plication! Exhaustion! that word is for age, not youth. 
By me, at least, one moment of satiety has never been 
known ! " 

Again the Egyptian smiled, but his smile was cold and 
blighting, and even the unimaginative Clodius froze be- 
neath its light. He did not, however, reply to the pas- 
sionate exclamation of Glaucus ; but, after a pause, he said, 
in a soft and melancholy voice, — 

"After all, you do right to enjoy the hour while it 
smiles for you ; the rose soon withers, the perfume soon 
exhales. And we, Glaucus ! strangers in tho land and 
far from our fathers' ashes, what is there left for us but 



26 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

pleasure or regret ! — for you the first, perhaps for me the 
last." 

The bright eyes of the Greek were suddenly suffused 
with tears. " Ah, speak not, Arbaces," he cried — " speak 
not of our ancestors. Let us forget that there were ever 
other liberties than those of Rome ! And Glory ! — oh, vainly 
would we call her ghost from the fields of Marathon and 
Thermopylffi ! " 

" Thy heart rebukes thee while thou speakest," said the 
Egyptian; "and in thy gaieties this night, thou wilt be 
more mindful of LeaBna * than of Lais. Vale ! 

Thus saying, he gathered his robe around him, and 
slowly swept away. 

" I breathe more freely," said Clodius. " Imitating the 
Egyptians, we sometimes introduce a skeleton at our feasts. 
In truth, the presence of such an Egyptian as yon gliding 
shadow were spectre enough to sour the richest grape of 
the Falernian." 

" Strange man ! " said Glaucus, musingly : " yet dead 
though he seem to pleasure, and cold to the objects of the 
world, scandal belies him, or his house and his heart could 
tell a different tale." 

" Ah ! there are whispers of other orgies than those of 
Osiris in his gloomy mansion. He is rich, too, they say. 
Can we not get him amongst us, and teach him the charms 
of dice? Pleasure of pleasures! hot fever of hope and 
fear ! inexpressible un jaded passion ! how fiercely beautiful 
thou art, O Gaming ! " 

" Inspired— inspired ! " cried Glaucus, laughing ; " the 
oracle speaks poetry in Clodius. What miracle next ! " 



CHAPTER III. 

PARENTAGE OP GLAUCUS. — DESCRIPTION OF THE HOUSES OP 

POMPEII. — A CLASSIC REVEL. 

Heaven had given to Glaucus every blessing but one : 
it had given him beauty, health, fortune, genius, illustrious 
descent, a heart of fire, a mind of poetry ; but it had denied 

* Leaena, the heroic mistress of Aristogiton, when put to the torture, bit 
out her tongue, that the pain might not induce her to betray the conspiracy 
against the sons of Pisistratus. The statue of a lioness, erected in her 
honour, was to be seen at Athens in the time of Pausanias. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 27 

Him the heritage of freedom. He was born in Athens, the 
subject of Rome. Succeeding early to an ample inherit- 
ance, he had indulged that inclination for travel so natural 
to the young, and had drunk deep of the intoxicating 
draught of pleasure amidst the gorgeous luxuries of the 
imperial court. 

He was an Alcibiadcs without ambition. He was what a 
man of imagination, youth, fortune, and talents, readily 
becomes when you deprive him of the inspiration of glory. 
His house at Rome was the theme of the debauchees, but 
also of the lovers of art ; and the sculptors of Greece de- 
lighted to task their skill in adorning the porticos and 
exedra of an Athenian. His retreat in Pompeii — alas ! the 
colours are faded now, the walls stripped of their paint- 
ings ! — its main beauty, its elaborato finish of grace and 
ornament, is gone ; yet when first given once more to the 
day, what eulogies, what wonder, did its minute and glowing 
decorations create — its paintings — its mosaics! Passion- 
ately enamoured of poetry and the drama, which recalled 
to (rlaucus the wit and the heroism of his race, that fairy 
mansion was adorned with representations of uEschylus 
and Homer. And antiquaries, who resolve taste to a trade, 
have turned the patron to the professor, and still (though 
the error is now acknowledged) they style in custom, as 
they first named in mistake, the disburied house of the 
Athenian Glaucus " the house of the dramatic poet." 

Previous to our description of this house, it may be as 
well to convey to the reader a general notion of the houses 
of Pompeii, which he will find to resemble strongly the 
plans of Vitruvius ; but with all those differences in detail, 
of caprice and taste, which being natural to mankind, have 
always puzzled antiquaries. We shall endeavour to make 
this description as clear and imped antic as possible. 

You enter then, usually, by a small entrance-passage 
(called vestibulum), into a hall, sometimes with (but more 
frequently without) the ornament of columns ; around 
three sides of this hall are doors communicating with 
several bedchambers (among which is the porter's), the 
best of these being usually appropriated to country visitors. 
At the extremity of the hall, on either side to the right and 
left, if the house is large, there are two small recesses, 
rather than chambers, generally devoted to the ladies of 
the mansion ; and in the centre of the tesselated pavement 



£8 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

of the hall is invariably a square, shallow reservoir for rain 
water (classically termed impluvium), which was admitted 
by an aperture in the roof above ; the said aperture being 
covered at will by an awning. Near this impluvium, which 
had a peculiar sanctity in the eyes of the ancients, were 
sometimes (but at Pompeii more rarely than at Rome) 
placed images of the household gods; — the hospitable 
hearth, often mentioned by the Roman poets, and conse- 
crated to the Lares, was at Pompeii almost invariably 
formed by a movable brazier; while in some corner, often 
the most ostentatious place, was deposited a huge wooden 
chest, ornamented and strengthened by bands of bronze or 
iron, and secured by strong hooks upon a stone pedestal so 
firmly as to defy the attempts of any robber to detach it 
from its position. It is supposed that this chest was the 
money-box, or coffer, of the master of the house ; though 
as no money has been found in any of the chests discovered 
at Pompeii, it is probable that it was sometimes rather 
designed for ornament than use. 

In this hall (or atrium, to speak classically) the clients 
and visitors of inferior rank were usually received. In the 
houses of the more " respectable," an atriensis, or slave 
peculiarly devoted to the service of the hall, was invariably 
retained, and his rank among his fellow-slaves was high 
and important. The reservoir in the centre must have 
been rather a dangerous ornament, but the centre of the 
hall was like the grass-plot of a college, and interdicted to 
the passers to and fro, who found ample space in the 
margin. Right opposite the entrance, at the other end of 
the hall, was an apartment (tablinum), in which the pave- 
ment was usually adorned with rich mosaics, and the walls 
covered with elaborate paintings. Hero were usually kept 
the records of the family, or those of any public office that 
had been filled by the owner : on one side of this saloon, 
if we may so call it, was often a dining-room, or triclinium; 
on the other side, perhaps, what we should now term a 
cabinet of gems, containing whatever curiosities were 
deemed most rare and costly ; and invariably a small pas- 
sage for the slaves to cross to the further parts of the 
house, without passing the apartments thus mentioned. 
These rooms all opened on a square or oblong colonnade, 
technically termed peristyle. If the house was small, its 
boundary ceased with this colonnade ; and in that case its 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 29 

• 

centre, however diminutive, was ordinarily appropriated 
to the purpose of a garden, and adorned with vases of 
flowers, placed upon pedestals : while, under the colonnade, 
to the right and left, were doors admitting to bed-rooms,* 
to a second triclinium, or eating-room (for the ancients 
generally appropriated two rooms at least to that purpose, 
one for summer, and one for winter — or, perhaps, one for 
ordinary, the other for festive, occasions) ; and if the owner 
affected letters, a cabinet, dignified by the name of library, 
— for a very small room was sufficient to contain the few 
rolls of papyrus which the ancients deemed a notable col- 
lection of books. 

At the end of the peristyle was generally the kitchen. 
Supposing the house was large, it did not end with the 
peristyle, and the centre thereof was not in that case a 
garden, but might be, perhaps, adorned with a fountain, or 
basin for fish ; and at its end, exactly opposito to the tabli- 
num, was generally another eating-room, on cither side of 
which were bedrooms, and, perhaps, a picture-saloon, or 
pinacotheca.'f These apartments communicated again with 
a square or oblong space, usually adorned on three sides 
with a colonnade like the peristyle, and very much resem- 
bling the peristyle, only usually longer. This was the 
proper viridarium, or garden, being commonly adorned 
with a fountain, or statues, and a profusion of gay flowers : 
at its extreme end was the gardener's house ; on either 
side, beneath the colonnade, were sometimes, if tho size of 
the family required it, additional rooms. 

At Pompeii, a second or third story was rarely of im- 
portance, being built only above a small part of tho house, 
and containing rooms for the slaves; differing in this 
respect from the more magnificent edifices of Rome, which 
generally contained the principal eating-room (or coenacu- 
lurri) on the second floor. The apartments themselves 
were ordinarily of small size ; for in those delightful climes 
they received any extraordinary number of visitors in the 
peristyle (or portico), the hall, or the garden; and even 
their banquetrooms, however elaborately adorned and 
carefully selected in point of aspect, were of diminutivo 

* The Romans had bedrooms appropriated not only to the sleep of night, 
but also to the day siesta (cubicula diurna). 

f In the stately palaces of Rome, this picture-room generally commu- 
nicated with the atrium. 



80 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

proportions; for the intellectual ancients, being fond of 
society, not of crowds, rarely feasted more than nine at a 
time, so that large dinner-rooms were not so necessary 
with them as with us.* But the suite of rooms seen at 
once from the entrance, must have had a very imposing 
effect : you beheld at once the hall richly paved and painted 
— the tablinum — the graceful peristyle, and (if the house 
extended farther) the opposite banquet-room and the gar- 
den, which closed the view with some gushing fount or 
marble statue. 

The reader will now have a tolerable notion of the 
Pompeian houses, which resembled in some respects the 
Grecian, but mostly the Roman fashion of domestic archi- 
tecture. In almost every house there is some difference in 
detail from the rest, but the principal outline is the same 
in all. In all you find the hall, the tablinum, and the 
peristyle, communicating with each other ; in all you find 
the walls richly painted ; and in all the evidence of a 
people fond of the refining elegancies of life. The purity 
of the taste of the Pompeians in decoration is, however, 
questionable: they were fond of the gaudiest colours, of 
fantastic designs; they often painted the lower half of 
their columns a bright red, leaving the rest uncoloured ; 
and where the garden was small, its wall was frequently 
tinted to deceive the eye as to its extent, imitating trees, 
birds, temples, &c, in perspective — a meretricious delusion 
which the graceful pedantry of Pliny himself adopted, with 
a complacent pride in its ingenuity. 

But the house of Glaucus was at once one of the smallest, 
and yet one of tho most adorned and finished of all the 
private mansions of Pompeii : it would be a model at this 
day for the house of "a single man in Mayfair" — the 
envy and despair of the ccelibian purchasers of buhl and 
marquetry. 

You enter by a long and narrow vestibule, on the floor 
of which is the image of a dog in mosaic, with the well- 
known " Cave canem," — or " Beware the dog." On either 
side is a chamber of some size ; for the interior part of the 
house not being large enough to contain the two great 
divisions of private and public apartments, these two rooms 
were set apart for the reception of visitors who neither by 

* When they entertained very large parties, the feast was usually served 
in the hall. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 31 

rank nor familiarity were entitled to admission in the 
penetralia of the mansion. 

Advancing np the vestibule you enter an atrium, that 
when first discovered was rich in paintings, which in 'point 
of expression would scarcely disgrace a Rafaele. You may 
see them now transplanted to the Neapolitan Museum; 
they are still the admiration of connoisseurs — they depict 
the parting of Achilles and Briseis. Who does not 
acknowledge the force, the vigour,*the beauty, employed 
in delineating the forms and faces of Achilles and the 
immortal slave ! 

On one side the atrium, a small staircase admitted to 
the apartments for the slaves on the second floor ; there 
also were two or three small bedrooms, the walls of which 
pourtrayed the rape of Europa, the battle of the Ama- 
zons, &c. 

You now enter the tablinum, across which, at either 
end, hung rich draperies of Tyrian purple, half with- 
drawn.* ■ On the walls was depicted a poet reading his 
verses to his friends ; and in the pavement was inserted a 
small and most exquisite mosaic, typical of the instruc- 
tions given by the director of the stage to his comedians. 

You passed through this saloon and entered the peri- 
style ; and here (as I have said before was usually the case 
with the smaller houses of Pompeii) the mansion ended. 
From each of the seven columns that adorned this court 
bung festoons of garlands : the centre, supplying the place 
of a garden, bloomed with the rarest flowers placed in 
vases of white marble, that were supported on pedestals. 
At the left hand of this small garden was a diminutive 
fane, resembling one of those small chapels placed at the 
side of roads in Catholic countries, and dedicated to the 
Penates; before it stood a bronzed tripod: to the left 
of the colonnade were two small cubicula, or bedrooms ; to 
the right was the triclinium, in which the guests were now 
assembled. 

This room is usually termed by the antiquaries of Naples 
" The Chamber of Leda ; " and in the beautiful work of 
Sir William Gell, the reader will find an engraving from 
that most delicate and graceful painting of Leda present- 
ing her new-born to her husband, from which the room 
derives its name. This charming apartment opened upon 

* The tablinum was also secured at pleasure by sliding-doors. 



82 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the fragrant garden. Round the table of citrean * wood, 
highly polished and delicately wrought with silver ara- 
besques, were placed the three couches, which were yet 
more common at Pompeii than the semicircular seat that 
had grown lately into fashion at Rome: and on these 
couches of bronze, studded with richer metals, were laid 
thick quiltings covered with elaborate broidery, and yield- 
ing luxuriously to the pressure. 

" Well, I must own," said the eedile Pansa, " that your 
house, though scarcely larger than a case for one's fibulae, 
is a gem of its kind. How beautifully painted is that 
parting of Achilles and Briseis ! — what a style ! — what 
heads ! — what a — hem ! " 

" Praise from Pansa is indeed valuable on such sub- 
jects,' ' said Clodius, gravely. " Why, the paintings on his 
walls ! — Ah ! there is, indeed, the hand of a Zeuxis ! " 

" You flatter me, my Clodius ; indeed you do ; " quoth 
the sedile, who was celebrated through Pompeii for having 
the worst paintings in the world ; for he was patriotic, and 
patronised none but Pompeians. " You flatter me ; but 
there is something pretty — uEdepol, yes — in the colours, 
to say nothing of the design ; — and then for the kitchen, 
my friends — ah ! that was all my fancy." 

" What is the design ? " said Glaucus. " I have not yet 
seen your kitchen, though I have often witnessed the 
excellence of its cheer." 

" A cook, my Athenian — a cook sacrificing the trophies 
of his skill on the altar of Vesta, with a beautiful mursena 
(taken from the life) on a spit at a distance ; — there is 
some invention there ! " 

At that instant the slaves appeared, bearing a tray 
covered with the first preparative initia of the feast. 
Amidst delicious figs, fresh herbs strewed with snow, an- 
chovies, and eggs, were ranged small cups of diluted wine 
sparingly mixed with honey. As these were placed on the 
table, young slaves bore round to each of the five guests 
(for there were no more) the silver basin of perfumed 
water, and napkins edged with a purple fringe. But the 
sedile ostentatiously drew forth his own napkin, which was 
not, indeed, of so fine a linen, but in which the fringe was 

* The most valued wood — not the modern citron- tree. My learned friend, 
Mr. W. S. Landor, conjectures it with much plausibility to have been 
mahogany. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 8S 

twice as broad, and wiped his hands with the parade of a 
man who felt he was calling for admiration. 

" A splendid magp a m tha,t of yours," said Clodius ; " why, 
the fringe is as broad as a girdle ! " 

" A trifle, my Clodius : a trifle ! They tell me this 
stripe is the latest fashion at Borne ; but Glaucus attends 
to these things more than I." 

" Be propitious, Bacchus ! " said Glaucus, inclining 
reverentially to a beautiful image of the god placed in the 
centre of the table, at the corners of which stood the 
Lares and the salt-holders. The guests followed the 
prayer, and then, sprinkling the wine on the table, they 
performed the wonted libation. 

This over, the convivialists reclined themselves on the 
couches, and the business of the hour commenced. 

" May this cup be my last ! " said the young Sallust, as 
the table, cleared of its first stimulants, was now loaded 
with the substantial part of the entertainment, and the 
ministering slave poured forth to him a brimming cyathus 
— " May this cup be my last, but it is the best wine I have 
drunk at Pompeii ! " 

" Bring hither the amphora," said Glaucus, " and read 
its date and its character." 

The slave hastened to inform the party that the scroll 
fastened to the cork betokened its birth from Chios, and 
its age a ripe fifty years. 

" How deliciously the snow has cooled it ! " said Pansa. 
" It is just enough." 

" It is like the experience of a man who has cooled his 
pleasures sufficiently to give them a double zest," exclaimed 
Sallust. 

" It is like a woman's ' No,' " added Glaucus : " it cools, 
but to inflame the more." 

" When is our next wild-beast fight? " said Clodius to 
Pansa. 

" It stands fixed for the ninth ide of August," answered 
Pansa: "on the day after the Vulcanalia; — we have a 
most lovely young lion for the occasion." 

"Whom shall we get for him to eat? " asked Clodius. 
" Alas ! there is a great scarcity of criminals. You must 

Eositively find some innocent or other to condemn to the 
on, Pansa ! " 
" Indeed I have thought very seriously about it of late," 



34? THE LAST DAYS OP POMPElt, 

replied the sedile, gravely. " It was a most infamous law 
that which forbade us to send onr own slaves to the wild 
beasts. Not to let as do what we like with onr own, that's 
what I call an infringement on property itself." 

" Not so in the good old days of the Republic," sighed 
Sallust. 

" And then this pretended mercy to the slaves is snch a 
disappointment to the poor people. How they do love to 
see a good tough battle between a man and a lion ; and all 
this innocent pleasure they may lose (if the gods don't send 
ns a good criminal soon) from this cursed law ! " 

"What can be worse policy," said Clodius, sententi- 
ously, " than to interfere with the manly amusements of 
the people ? " 

" Well, thank Jupiter and the Fates ! we have no Nero 
at present," said Sallust. 

" He was, indeed, a tyrant ; he shut up our amphitheatre 
for ten years." 

" I wonder it did not create a rebellion," said Sallust. 

" It very nearly did," returned Pansa, with his mouth 
full of wild boar. 

Here the conversation was interrupted for a moment 
by a nourish of flutes, and two slaves entered with a single 
dish. 

" Ah, what delicacy hast thou in store for us now, my 
Glaucus ? " cried the young Sallust, with sparkling 
eyes. 

Sallust was only twenty- four, but he had no pleasure in 
life like eating — perhaps he had exhausted all the others : 
yet had he some talent, and an excellent heart — as far as 
it went. 

" I know its face, by Pollux ! " cried Pansa. " It is an 
Ambracian Kid. Ho ! [snapping his fingers, a usual signal 
to the slaves] we must prepare a new libation in honour to 
the new-comer." 

" I had hoped," said Glaucus, in a melancholy tone, " to 
have procured you some oysters from Britain; but the 
winds that were so cruel to CaBsar have forbid us the 
oysters." 

"Are they in truth so delicious ?" asked Lepidus, loosen- 
ing to a yet more luxurious ease his ungirdled tunic. 

" Why, in truth, I suspect it is the distance that gives 
the flavour; they want the richness of the Brundusinm 



THE LAST DAyS OF POMPEII. 36 

oyster. But, at Borne, no sapper is complete without 
them." 

" The poor Britons ! There is some good in them after 
all," said Sallnst. " They produce an oyster." 

" I wish they would produce us a gladiator," said the 
©dile, whose provident mind was musing over the wants of 
the amphitheatre. 

" By Pallas ! " cried Glaucus, as his favourite slave 
crowned his streaming locks with a new chaplet, " I love 
these wild spectacles well enough when beast fights boast ; 
but when a man, one with bones and blood like ours, is 
coldly put on the arena, and torn limb from limb, the in- 
terest is too horrid : I sicken — I gasp for breath — I long to 
rush and defend him. The yells of the populace seem to 
me more dire than the voices of the Furies chasing Orestes. 
I rejoice that there is so little chance of that bloody exhi- 
bition for our next show ! " 

The eedile shrugged his shoulders. The young Sallust, 
who was thought the best natured man in Pompeii, stared 
in surprise. The graceful Lepidus, who rarely spoke for 
fear of disturbing his features, ejaculated " Hercle ! " 
The parasite Clodius muttered " JEdepol ! " and the sixth 
banqueter, who was the umbra of Clodius,* and whose 
duly it was to echo his richer friend, when he could not 
praise him, — the parasite of a parasite, — muttered also 
" ^Edepol ! " 

" Well, you Italians are used to these spectacles ; we 
Greeks are more merciful. Ah, shade of Pindar! — the 
rapture of a true Grecian game — the emulation of man 
against man— the generous strife — the half-mournful tri- 
umph — so proud to contend with a noble foe, so sad to see 
him overcome ! But ye understand me not." 

" The kid is excellent," said Sallust. The slave, whose 
duty it was to carve, and who valued himself on his 
science, had just performed that office on the kid to the 
sound of music, his knife keeping time, beginning with a 
low tenor and accomplishing the arduous feat amidst a 
magnificent diapason. 

" Your cook is, of course, from Sicily ? " said Pansa. 

" Yes, of Syracuse." 

" I will play you for him," said Clodius. " We will 
have a game between the courses." 



* See note (b) at the end. 

D2 



36 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

" Better that sort of game, certainly, than a beast fight ; 
but I cannot stake my Sicilian — you have nothing so pre- 
cious to stake me in return." 

" My Phillida — my beautiful dancing-girl ! " 

" I never buy women," said the Greek, carelessly re- 
arranging his chaplet. 

The musicians, who were stationed in the portico with- 
out, had commenced their office with the kid ; they now 
directed the melody into a more soft, a more gay, yet it 
may be a more intellectual strain ; and they chanted that 
song of Horace beginning " Persicos odi," &c, so impos- 
sible to translate, and which they imagined applicable to a 
feast that, effeminate as it seems to us, was simple enough 
for the gorgeous revelry of the time. We are witnessing 
the domestic, and not the princely feast — the entertain- 
ment of a gentleman, not an emperor or a senator. 

" Ah, good old Horace! " said Sallust, compassionately; 
" he sang well of feasts and girls, but not like our modern 
poets." 

" The immortal Fulvius, for instance," said Clodius. 

" Ah, Fulvius, the immortal ! " said the umbra. 

" And Spuroena ; and Caius Mutius, who wrote three 
epics in a year — could Horace do that, or Virgil either ? " 
said Lepidus. " Those old poets all fell into the mistake 
of copying sculpture instead of painting. Simplicity and 
repose — that was their notion ; but we moderns have fire, 
and passion, and energy — we never sleep, we imitate the 
colours of painting, its life, and its action. Immortal 
Fulvius ! " 

" By the way," said Sallust, " have you seen the new 
ode by Spunena, in honour of our Egyptian Isis ? It is 
magnificent — the true religious fervour." 

" Isis seems a favourite divinity at Pompeii," said 
Grlaucus. 

" Yes ! " said Pansa, " she is exceedingly in repute just 
at this moment ; her statue has been uttering the most 
remarkable oracles. I am not superstitious, but I must 
confess that sho has more than once assisted me materially 
in my magistracy with her advice. Her priests are so 
pious, too ! none of your gay, none of your proud, 
ministers of Jupiter and Fortune : they walk barefoot, eat 
no meat, and pass the greater part of the night in solitary 
devotion ! " 



THE LAST DAYS. OP POMPEII, 87 

''An example to our other priesthoods, indeed! — Ju- 
piter's temple wants reforming sadly," said Lepidus, who 
was a great reformer for all but himself. 

"They say that Arbaces the Egyptian lias imparted 
some most solemn mysteries to tho priests of Isis," ob- 
served Sallnst. " He boasts his descent from tho race of 
Rameses, and declares that in his family the secrets of 
remotest antiquity are treasured." 

" He certainly possesses the gift of the evil eye," said 
Clodius. "HI ever come upon that Medusa front with- 
out the previous charm, I am sure to lose a favourite 
horse, or throw the canes * nine times running." 

" The last would be indeed a miracle ! " said Sallust, 
gravely. 

" How mean you, Sallust ? " returned the gamester, 
with a flushed brow. 

" I mean, what you would leave mo if I played often 
with you ; and that is — nothing." 

Clodius answered only by a smile of disdain. 

" If Arbaces were not so rich," said Pansa, with a stately 
air, " I should stretch my authority a little, and inquire 
into the truth of the report which calls him an astrologer 
and a sorcerer. Agrippa, when eedile of Rome, banished 
all such terrible citizens. But a rich man — it is the duty 
of an ffidile to protect the rich! " 

" What think you of this new sect, which I am told has 
even a few proselytes in Pompeii, these followers of tho 
Hebrew God— Christus ? " 

" Oh, mere speculative visionaries," said Clodius ; " they 
have not a single gentleman amongst them ; their pro- 
s.lytcs are poor, insignificant, ignorant people ! " 

" Who ought, however, to bo crucified for their blas- 
phemy," said Pansa, with vehemence ; " they deny Venus 
and Jove ! Nazarene is but another name for atheist. Let 
me catch them, that's all." 

The second course was gone — the feasters fell back on 
their couches — there was a pause while they listened to 
the soft voices of the South, and the music of the Arcadian 
reed. Glaucus was the most rapt and the least inclined to 
break the silence, but Clodius began already to think that 
they wasted time. 

* Canes, or Canicuke, the lowest throw at dice. 



88 THB LAST DAYS OF POMPE1L 

"Bene vobis / (your health!) my Glaucus," said he, 
quaffing a cup to each letter of the Greek's name, with the 
ease of the practised drinker. " Will you not be avenged 
on your ill-fortune of yesterday ? See, the dice court us." 

" As you will," said Glaucus. 

" The dice in summer, and I am cedile ! " * said Pansa, 
magisterially ; " it is against all law." 

4i Not in your presence, grave Pansa," returned Clodius, 
rattling the dice in a long box ; " your presence restrains 
all liceuse : it is not the thing, but the excess of the thing, 
that hurts." 

" What wisdom ! " muttered the umbra. 

" Well, I will look another way," said the sedile. 

" Not yet, good Pansa ; let us wait till we have supped," 
said Glaucus. 

Clodius reluctantly yielded, concealing his vexation with 
a yawn. 

" He gapes to devour the gold," whispered Lepidus to 
Sallust, in a quotation from the Aulvlaria of Plautus. 

" Ah ! how well I know these polypi, who hold all they 
touch," answered Sallust, in the same tone, and out of the 
same play. 

The third course, consisting of a variety of fruits, pis- 
tachio nuts, sweetmeats, tarts, and confectionery tortured 
into a thousand fantastic and airy shapes, was now placed 
upon the table : and the ministri, or attendants, also set 
there the wine (which had hitherto been handed round to 
the guests) in large jugs of glass, each bearing upon it the 
schedule of its age and quality. 

" Taste this Lesbian, my Pansa," said Sallust ; " it is 
excellent." 

"It is not very old," said Glaucus, " but it has been 
made precocious, like ourselves, by being put to the fire : — 
the wine to the flames of Vulcan — we to those of his wife 
— to whose honour I pour this cup." 

" It is delicate," said Pansa, " but there is perhaps the 
least particle too much of rosin in its flavour." 

" What a beautiful cup ! " cried Clodius, taking up one 
of transparent crystal, the handles of which were wrought 
with gems, and twisted in the shape of serpents, tho 
favourite fashion at Pompeii. 

" This ring," said Glaucus, taking a costly jewel from 

* See note (c) at the end. 



THE LAST DAY8 OF POMPEII. 80 

the first joint of his finger and hanging it on the handle, 
" gives it a richer show, and renders it less unworthy of 
thy acceptance, my Clodius, on whom may the gods 
bestow health and fortune, long and oft to crown it to the 
brim!" 

"You are too generous, Glaucus," said the gamester, 
handing the cup to his slave ; " but your love gives it a 
double value." 

" This cup to the Graces ! " said Pansa, and he thrice 
emptied his calix. The guests followed his example. 

"We have appointed no director to the feast," cried 
Sallust. 

" Let us throw for him, then," said Clodius, rattling the 
dice-box. 

" Nay," cried Glaucus, " no cold and trite director for 
us : no dictator of the banquet ; no rex convivii. Have not 
the Romans sworn never to obey a king ? Shall we be less 
free than your ancestors ? Ho ! musicians, let us have the 
song I composed the other night : it has a verse on this 
subject, ' The Bacchic hymn of the Hours.' " 

The -musicians struck their instruments to a wild Ionic 
air, while the youngest voices in the band chanted forth, 
in Greek words, as numbers, the following strain • — 

THE EVENING HYMN OF THE HOURS. 

i. 

" Through the summer day, through the weary day, 
We have glided long : 
Ere we speed to the Night through her portals grey, 
Hail us with song !— 
With sons:, with song, 
With a bright and joyous song ; 
Such as the Cretan maid, 

While the twilight made her bolder, 
Woke, high through the ivy shade, 

When the wine-god first consoled her. 
From the hush'd, low-breathing skies, 
Half-shut look'd their starry eyes, 
And all around, 
With a loving sound, 
The JEgean waves were creeping : 
On her lap lay the lynx's head; 
Wild thyme was her bridal bed ; 
And aye through each tiny space, 
In the green vine's green embrace 
The Fauns were slily peeping ;—> 
The Fauns, the prying Fauns — 
The arch, the laughing Fauns — 
The Fauns were slily peeping! 



40 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 



ii. 

Flagging and faint are we 
With our ceaseless flight, 
And dull shall our journey be 
Through the realm of night. 
Bathe us, bathe our weary wings 
In the purple wave, as it freshly springs 
To your cups from the fount of light — 
From the fount of light — from the fount of light; 
For there, when the sun has gone down in night, 
There in the bowl we find him. 
The grape is the well of that summer sun, 
Or rather the stream that he gazed upon, 
Till he left in truth, like the Thespian youth,* 
His soul, as he gazed, behind him. 

ni. 

A cup to Jove, and a cup to Love, 

And a cup to the son of Maia ; 
And honour with three, the band zone- free, 

The band of the bright Aglaia. 
But since every bud in the wreath of pleasure 

Te owe to the sister Hours, 
No stinted cups, in a formal measure, 

The Bromian law makes ours. 
He honours us most who gives us most, 
And boasts, with a Bacchanal's honest boast, 
He never will count the treasure. 
Fastly we fleet, then seize our wings, 
And plunge us deep in the sparkling springs ; 
And aye, as we rise with a dripping plume, 
We'll scatter the spray round the garland's bloom. 

We glow— we glow. 
Behold, as the girls of the Eastern wave 
Bore once with a shout to their crystal cave 
The prize of the Mysian Hylas, 
Even so — even so, 
We have caught the young god in our warm embrace, 
We hurry him on in our laughing race ; 
We hurry him on, with a whoop and song, 
The cloudy rivers of night along — 

Ho. ho f — w*» hftVA ostneht thp*» P«i1 



Ho, ho ! — we have caught thee, Psilas ! 



»» 



The guests applauded loudly. When the poet is your 
host, his verses are sure to charm. 

"Thoroughly Greek," said Lepidus: "the wildness, 
force, and energy of that tongue, it is impossible to imitate 
in the Roman poetry." 

" It is, indeed, a great contrast," said Clodius, ironically 
at heart, though not in appearance, " to the old-fashioned 
and tame simplicity of that ode of Horace which we heard 
before. The air is beautifully Ionic : the word puts me in 

* Narcissus, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 41 

mind of a toast — Companions, I give you the beautiful 
lone." 

" lone ! — the name is Greek," said Glaucus, in a soft 
voice. "I drink the health with delight. But who is 
lone ? " 

" Ah ! you have but just come to Pompeii, or you would 
deserve ostracism for your ignorance," said Lepidus, con- 
ceitedly: "not to know lone, is not to know the chief 
charm of our city." 

" She is of the most rare beauty," said Pansa ; " and 
what a voice ! " 

" She can feed only on nightingales' tongues," said 
Clodius. 

"Nightingales' tongues! — beautiful thought!" sighed 
the umbra. 

" Enlighten me, I beseech you," said Glaucus. 

" Know then " began Lepidus. 

"Let me speak," cried Clodius; "you drawl out your 
words as if you spoke tortoises." 

" And you speak stones," muttered the coxcomb to him* 
self, as he fell back disdainfully on his couch. 

" Know then, my Glaucus," said Clodius, " that lone 
is a stranger who has bat lately come to Pompeii. She 
sings like Sappho, and her songs are her own composing ; 
and as for the tibia, and the cithara, and the lyre, I know 
not in which she most outdoes the Muses. Her beauty 
is most dazzling. Her house is perfect ; such taste — such 
gems — such bronzes ! She is rich, and generous as she 
is rich." 

" Her lovers, of course," said Glaucus, " take care that 
she does not starve; and money lightly won is always 
lavishly spent." 

" Her lovers — ah, there is the enigma ! lone has but 
one vice — she is chaste. She has all Pompeii at her feet, 
and she has no lovers : she will not even marry." 

" Xo lovers ! " echoed Glaucus. 

" No ; she has the soul of Vesta, with the girdle of 
Venus." 

" What refined expressions ! " said the umbra. 

" A miracle ! " cried Glaucus. " Can we not see her ? " 

"I will take you there this evening," said Clodius; 

"meanwhile ," added he, once more rattling the 

dice. 



42 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

" I am yours ! " said the complaisant Glaucus. " Pansa, 
turn your face ! " 

Lepidus and Sallnst played at odd and even, and the 
nmbra looked on, while Glancus and Clodins became 
gradually absorbed in the chances of the dice. 

" By Pollux ! " cried Glancus, " this is the second time I 
have thrown the canicul© " (the lowest throw). 

" Now Venus befriend me ! " said Clodius, rattling the 
box for several moments. " Alma Venus — it is Venus 
herself ! " as he threw the highest cast, named from that 
goddess, — whom he who wins money, indeed, usually 
propitiates ! 

"Venus is ungrateful to me," said Glancus, gaily; "I 
have always sacrificed on her altar." 

"He who plays with Clodius," whispered Lepidus, 
" will soon, like Plautus's Curculio, put his pallium for the 
stakes." 

"Poor Glaucus! — he is as blind as Fortune herself," 
replied Sallust, in the same tone. 

"I will play no more," said Glaucus; "I have lost 
thirty sestertia." 

" I am sorry ," began Clodius. 

" Amiable man ! " groaned the umbra 

" Not at all ! " exclaimed Glaucus ; " the pleasure I take 
in your gain compensates the pain of my loss." 

The conversation now grew general and animated ; the 
wine circulated more freely ; and lone once more became 
the subject of eulogy to the guests of Glaucus. 

" Instead of out watching the stars, let us visit one at 
whose beauty the stars grow pale," said Lepidus. 

Clodius, who saw no chance of renewing the dice, 
seconded the proposal ; and Glaucus, though he civilly 
pressed his guests to continue the banquet, could not but 
let them see that his curiosity had been excited by the 
praises of lone : they therefore resolved to adjourn (all, 
at least, but Pansa and the umbra) to the house of the 
fair Greek. They drank, therefore, to the health of 
Glaucus and of Titus — they performed their last libation — 
they resumed their slippers — they descended the stairs — 
passed the illumined atrium — and walking unbitten over 
the fierce dog painted on the threshold, found themselves 
beneath the light of the moon just risen, in the lively and 
still crowded streets of Pompeii. 



. THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 43 

They passed the jewellers' quarter, sparkling with 
lights, caught and reflected by the gems displayed in the 
shops, and arrived at last at the door of lone. The vesti- 
bule blazed with rows of lamps ; curtains of embroidered 
purple hung on either aperture of the tablinum, whose 
walls and mosaic pavement glowed with the richest colours 
of the artist ; and under the portico which surrounded the 
odorous viridarium they found lone, already surrounded 
by adoring and applauding guests ! 

" Did you say she was Athenian ? " whispered Olaucus, 
ere he passed into the peristyle. 

" No, she is from Neapolis." 

" Neapolis ! " echoed Glaucus ; and at that moment the 
group, dividing on either side of lone, gave to his view 
that bright, that nymph-like beauty, which for months 
had shone down upon the waters of his memory. 



CHAPTER IV. 

TOE TEMPLE OF ISIS. — ITS PRIEST. — THE CHARACTER OF 

ARBACES DEVELOPS ITSELF. 

The story returns to the Egyptian. We left Arbaces 
upon the shores of the noonday sea, after he had parted 
from Glaucus and his companion. As he approached to 
the more crowded part of the bay, he paused and gazed 
upon that animated scene with folded arms, and a bitter 
smile upon his dark features. 

" Gulls, dupes, fools, that ye are ! " muttered he to him- 
self ; " whether business or pleasure, trade or religion, be 
your pursuit, you are equally cheated by the passions that 
ye should rule ! How I could loathe you, if I did not hate 
— yes, hate ! Greek or Roman, it is from us, from the 
dark lore of Egypt, that ye have stolen the fire that gives 
you souls. Your knowledge — your poesy — your laws — 
your arts — your barbarous mastery of war (all how tame 
and mutilated, when compared with the vast original !) — 
ye have filched, as a slave filches the fragments of the 
feast, from us ! And now, ye mimics of a mimic ! — 
Romans, forsooth ! the mushroom herd of robbers ! ye are 
our masters ! the pyramids look down no more on the race 
of Rameses — the eagle cowers over the serpent of the Nile. 



44 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Our masters — no, not mine. My soul, by the power of its 
wisdom, controls and chains yon, though the fetters are 
nnseen. So long as craft can master force, so long as 
religion has a cave from which oracles can dupe mankind, 
the wise hold an empire over earth. Even from your 
vices Arbaces distils his pleasures ; — pleasures unprofaned 
by vulgar eyes — pleasures vast, wealthy, inexhaustible, of 
which your enervate minds, in their unimaginative sen- 
suality, cannot conceive or dream! Plod on, plod on, 
fools of ambition and of avarice ! your petty thirst for 
fasces and quaestorships, and all the mummery of servile 
power, provokes my laughter and my scorn. My power 
can extend wherever man believes. I ride over the souls 
that the purple veils. Thebes may fall, Egypt be a name; 
the world itself furnishes the subjects of Arbaces." 

Thus saying, the Egyptian moved slowly on; and, 
entering the town, his tall figure towered above the 
crowded throng of the forum, and swept towards the 
small but graceful temple consecrated to Isis.* 

That edifice was then but of recent erection ; the ancient 
temple had been thrown down in the earthquake sixteen 
years before, and the new building had become as much in 
vogue with the versatile Pompeians as a new church or a 
new preacher may be with us. The oracles of the goddess 
at Pompeii were indeed remarkable, not more for the 
mysterious language in which they were clothed, than for 
the credit which was attached to their mandates and pre- 
dictions. If they were not dictated by a divinity, they 
were framed at least by a profound knowledge of mankind; 
they applied themselves exactly to the circumstances of 
individuals, and made a notable contrast to the vague and 
loose generalities of their rival temples. As Arbaces now 
arrived at the rails which separated the profane from the 
sacred place, a crowd, composed of all classes, but especi- 
ally of the commercial, collected, breathless and reverential, 
before the many altars which rose in the open court. In 
the walls of the cella, elevated on seven steps of Parian 
marble, various statues stood in niches, and those walls 
were ornamented with the pomegranate consecrated to 
Isis. An oblong pedestal occupied the interior building, 
on which stood two statues, one of Isis, and its companion 
represented the silent and mystic Orus. But the building 

* See note (d) at the end. 



THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 45 

contained many other deities to grace the court of the 
Egyptian deity: her kindred and many- titled Bacchus, 
and the Cyprian Venus, a Grecian disguise for herself, 
rising from her bath, and the dog-headed Anubis, and the 
ox Apis, and various Egyptian idols of uncouth form and 
unknown appellations. 

But we must not suppose that, among the cities of 
Magna GrsDcia, Isis was worshipped with those forms and 
ceremonies which were of right her own. The mongrel 
and modern nations of the South, with a mingled arrogance 
and ignorance, confounded the worships of all climes and 
ages. And the profound mysteries of the Nile were de- 
graded by a hundred meretricious and frivolous admixtures 
from the creeds of Cephisus and of Tibur. The temple of 
Isis in Pompeii was served by Roman and Greek priests, 
ignorant alike of the language and the customs of her 
ancient votaries ; and the descendant of the dread Egyptian 
kings, beneath the appearance of reverential awe, secretly 
laughed to scorn the puny mummeries which imitated the 
solemn and typical worship of his burning clime. 

Banged now on either side the steps was the sacrificial 
crowd, arrayed in white garments, while at the summit 
stood two of the inferior priests, the one holding a palm- 
branch, the other a slender sheaf of corn. In the narrow 
passage in front thronged the bystanders. 

** And what," whispered Arbaces to one of the bystanders, 
who was a merchant engaged in the Alexandrian trade, 
which trade had probably first introduced in Pompeii the 
worship of the Egyptian goddess — " What occasion now 
assembles you before the altars of the venerable Isis ? It 
seems, by the white robes of the group before me, that a 
sacrifice is to be rendered; and by the assembly of the 
priests, that ye are prepared for some oracle. To what 
question is it to vouchsafe a reply ? " 

" We are merchants," replied the bystander (who was no 
other than Diomed) in the same voice, " who seek to know 
the fate of our vessels, which sail for Alexandria to-morrow. 
We are about to offer up a sacrifice and implore an answer 
from the goddess. I am not one of those who have peti- 
tioned the priest to sacrifice, as you may see by my dress, 
but I have some interest in the success of the fleet ; — by 
Jupiter ! yes. I have a pretty trade, else how could I live 
in these hard times P " 



46 THE LAST BAYS OP POMPEH. 

The Egyptian replied gravely, — " That though Isis was 
properly the goddess of agriculture, she was no less the 1 
patron of commerce." Then turning his head towards the 
east, Arbaccs seemed absorbed in silent prayer. 

And now in the centre of the steps appeared a priest 
robed in white from head to foot, the veil parting over the 
crown ; two new priests relieved those hitherto stationed 
at either corner, being naked half-way down to the breast, 
and covered, for the rest, in white and loose robes. At the 
same time, seated at the bottom of the steps, a priest com- 
menced a solemn air upon a long wind-instrument of 
music. Half-way down the steps stood another flamen, 
holding in one hand the votive wreath, in the other a white 
wand; while, adding to the picturesque scene of that eastern 
ceremony, the stately ibis (bird sacred to the Egyptian 
worship) looked mutely down from the wall upon the rite, 
or stalked beside the altar at the base of the steps. 

At that altar now stood the sacrificial flamen.* 

The countenance of Arbaces seemed to lose all its rigid 
calm while the aruspices inspected the entrails, and to be 
intent in pious anxiety — to rejoice and brighten as the 
signs were declared favourable, and the fire began bright 
and clearly to consume the sacred portion of the victim 
amidst odours of myrrh and frankincense. It was then 
that a dead silence fell over the whispering crowd, and the 
priests gathering round the cella, another priest, naked 
save by a cincture round the middle, rushed forward, and 
dancing with wild gestures, implored an answer from the 
goddess. He ceased at last in exhaustion, and a low mur- 
muring noise was heard within the body of the statue: 
thrice the head moved, and the lips parted, and then a 
hollow voice uttered these mystic words : — 

" There are waves like chargers that meet and glow, 
There are graves ready wrought in the rocks below: 
On the brow of the future the dangers lour, 
But blest are your barks in the fearful hour." 

The voice ceased — the crowd breathed more freely — the 
merchants looked at each other. " Nothing can be more 
plain," murmured Diomed ; " there is to be a storm at sea, 
as there very often is at the beginning of autumn, but our 
vessels are to be saved. O beneficent Isis ! " 

" Lauded eternally be the goddess ! " said the merchants : 
** what can be less equivocal than her prediction ? " 

* See a singular picture in the Museum of Naples, of an Egyptian sacrifice. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. * 47 

Raising one hand in sign of silence to the people, for the 
rites of Isis enjoined what to the lively Pompeians was an 
impossible suspense from the use of the vocal organs, the 
chief priest poured his libation on the altar, and after a 
short concluding prayer the ceremony was over, and the 
congregation dismissed. Still, however, as the crowd dis- 
persed themselves here and there, the Egyptian lingered 
by the railing, and when the space became tolerably cleared, 
one of the priests, approaching it, saluted him with great 
appearance of friendly familiarity. 

The countenance of the priest was remarkably unpre- 
possessing — his shaven skull was so low and narrow in the 
front as nearly to approach to the conformation of that of 
an African savage, save only towards the temples, where, 
in that organ styled acquisitiveness by the pupils of a 
science modern in name, but best practically known (as 
their sculpture teaches us) amongst the ancients, two huge 
and almost preternatural protuberances yet more distorted 
the unshapely head; — around the brows the skin was 
puckered into a web of deep and intricate wrinkles — the 
eyes, dark and small, rolled in a muddy and yellow orbit — 
the nose, short yet coarse, was distended at the nostrils like 
a satyr's — and the thick but pallid lips, the high cheek- 
bones, the livid and motley hues that struggled through the 
parchment skin, completed a countenance which none 
could behold without repugnance, and few without terror 
and distrust : whatever the wishes of the mind, the animal 
frame was well fitted to execute them ; the wiry muscles of 
the throat, the broad chest, the nervous hands and lean 
gaunt arms, which were bared above the elbow, betokened 
a form capable alike of great active exertion and passive 
endurance. 

" Calenus," said the Egyptian to this fascinating flamen, 
"you have improved the voice of the statue much by 
attending to my suggestion y and your verses are excellent. 
Always prophesy good fortune, unless there is an absolute 
impossibility of its fulfilment." 

"Besides," added Calenus, "if the storm does come, 
and if it does overwhelm the accursed ships, have we not 
prophesied it ? and are the barks not blest to be at rest ? — 
for rest prays the mariner in the ^Egean sea, or at least so 
says Horace ; — can the mariner be more at rest in the sea 
than when he is at the bottom of it ? " 



48 THE LAST DAY8 OF POMPEII. 

"Right, my Calenus; I wish Apaecides would take a 
lesson from your wisdom. Bat I desire to confer with 
yon relative to him and to other matters : yon can admit 
me into one of yonr less sacred apartments r " 

" Assuredly," replied the priest, leading the way to one 
of the small chambers which surrounded the open gate. 
Here they seated themselves before a small table spread 
with dishes containing fruit and eggs, and various cold 
meats, with vases of excellent wine, of which while the 
companions partook, a curtain, drawn across the entrance 
op2ning to the court, concealed them from view, but ad- 
monished them by the thinness of the partition to speak 
low, or to speak no secrets: they chose the former 
alternative. 

" Thou knowest," said Arbaces, in a voice that scarcely 
stirred the air, so soft and inward was its sound, " that it 
has ever been my maxim to attach myself to the young. 
From their flexile and unformed minds I can carve out my 
fittest tools. I weave — I warp — I mould them at my will 
Of the men I make merely followers or servants ; of the 



women " 



" Mistresses," said Calenus, as a livid grin distorted his 
ungainly features. 

" Yes, I do not disguise it; woman is the main object, 
the great appetite of my soul. As you feed the victim for 
the slaughter, I love to rear the votaries of my pleasure. I 
love to train, to ripen their minds — to unfold the sweet 
blossom of their hidden passions, in order to prepare the 
fruit to my taste. I loathe your ready-made and ripened 
courtesans ; it is in the soft and unconscious progress of 
innocence to desire that I find the true charm of love ; it is 
thus that I defy satiety ; and by contemplating the fresh- 
ness of others, I sustain the freshness of my own sensations. 
From the young hearts of my victims I draw the ingredients 
of the caldron in which I re-youth myself. But enough of 
this : to the subject before us. You know, then, that in 
Ncapolis some time since I encountered lone and Apaecides, 
brother and sister, the children of Athenians who had 
settled at Neapolis. The death of their parents, who 
knew and esteemed me, constituted me their guardian. I 
was not unmindful of the trust. The youth, docile and 
mild, yielded readily to the impression I sought to stamp 
upon him. Next to woman, I love the old recollections of 



" • THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 49 

my ancestral land ; I love to keep alive — to propagate on 
distant shores (which her colonies perchance yet people) 
her dark and mystic creeds. It may be, that it pleases me 
to delude mankind, while I thus serve the deities. To 
Apaecides I taught the solemn faith of Isis. I unfolded 
to him something of those sublime allegories which are 
couched beneath her worship. I excited in a soul peculiarly 
alive to religious fervour that enthusiasm which imagina- 
tion begets on faith. I have placed him amongst you : he 
is one of you." 

" He is so," said Catenas : " but in thus stimulating his 
faith, you have robbed him of wisdom. He is horror- 
struck that he is no longer duped : our sage delusions, our 
speaking statues and secret staircases dismay and revolt 
him ; he pines ; he wastes away ; he mutters to himself ; 
he refuses to share our ceremonies. He has been known 
to frequent the company of men suspected of adherence to 
that new and atheistical creed which denies all our gods, 
and terms our oracles the inspirations of that malevolent 
spirit of which eastern tradition speaks. Our oracles — 
alas! we know well whose inspirations they are ! " 

" This is what I feared," said Arbaces, musingly, " from 
various reproaches he made me when I last saw him. Of 
late he hath shunned my steps : I must find him : I must 
continue my lessons : I must lead him into the adytum of 
Wisdom. I must teach him that there are two stages of 
sanctity — the first, faith — the next, delusion ; the one for 
the vulgar, the second for the sage." 

" I never passed through the first," said Calenus ; " nor 
yon either, I think, my Axbaces." 

" You err," replied the Egyptian, gravely. " I believe 
at this day (not indeed that which I teach, but that which 
I teach not), Nature has a sanctity against which I cannot 
(nor would I) steel conviction. I believe in mine own 
knowledge, and that has revealed to me, — but no matter. 
Now to earthlier and more inviting themes. If I thus ful- 
filled my object with Apaecides, what was my design for 
lone ? Thou knowest already I intend her for my queen 
— my bride — my heart's Isis. Never till I saw her knew 
I all the love of which my nature is capable." 

" I hear from a thousand lips that she is a second Helen," 
said Calenus ; and he smacked his own lips, but whether at 
the wine or at the notion it is not easy to decide. 



50 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

"Yes, she has a beauty that Greece itself never ex- 
celled," resumed Arbaccs. " But that is not all : she has 
a soul worthy to match with mine. She has a genius 
beyond that of woman — keen — dazzling — bold. Poetry 
flows spontaneous to her lips : utter but a truth, and, how* 
ever intricate and profound, her mind seizes and commands 
it. Her imagination and her reason are not at war with 
each other ; they harmonise and direct her course as the 
winds and the waves direct some lofty bark. With this 
she unites a daring independence of thought; she can 
stand alone in the world ; she can be brave as she is gentle ; 
this is the nature I have sought all my life in woman, and 
never found till now. lone must be mine ! In her I have 
a double passion ; I wish to enjoy a beauty of spirit as of 
form." 

" She is not yours yet, then ? " said the priest. 

"No; she loves me — but as a friend: — she loves me 
with her mind only. She fancies in me the paltry virtues 
which I have only the profounder virtue to disdain. But 
you must pursue with me her history. The brother and 
sister were young and rich : lone is proud and ambitions 
— proud of her genius — the magic of her poetry — the 
charm of her conversation. When her brother left me, 
and entered your temple, in order to be near him she 
removed also to Pompeii. She has suffered her talents to- 
be known. She summons crowds to her feasts ; her voice 
enchants them ; her poetry subdues. She delights in being 
thought the successor of Erinna." 

" Or of Sappho ? " 

" But Sappho without love ! I encouraged her in this 
boldness of career — in this indulgence of vanity and of 
pleasure. I loved to steep her amidst the dissipations and 
luxury of this abandoned city. Mark me, Calenus! I 
desired to enervate her mind ! — it has been too pure to 
receive yet the breath which I wish not to pass, but 
burningly to eat into, the mirror. I wished her to be sur- 
rounded by lovers, hollow, vain, and frivolous (lovers that 
her nature must despise), in order to feel the want of love. 
Then, in those soft intervals of lassitude that succeed to 
excitement, I can weave my spells — excite her interest — 
attract her passions — possess myself of her heart. For i% 
is not the young, nor the beautiful, nor the gay, that should 
fascinate lone ; her imagination must be won, and the life 



THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 51 

of Arbaces has been one scene of triumph over the imagi- 
nations of his kind." 

" And hast thon no fear, then, of thy rivals ? The 
| gallants of Italy are skilled in the art to please." 

* 4 None ! Her Greek sonl despises the barbarian Romans, 
and would scorn itself if it admitted a thonght of love for 
one of that npstart race." ' 

"But thon art an Egyptian, not a Greek ! " 

14 Egypt," replied Arbaces, "is the mother of Athens. 
Her tutelary Minerva is our deity ; and her founder, 
Cecrops, was the fugitive of Egyptian Sais. This have I 
already taught to her ; and in my blood she venerates the 
eldest dynasties of earth. But yet I will own that of late 
some uneasy suspicions have crossed my mind. She is 
more silent than she used to be ; she loves melancholy and 
subduing music; she sighs without an outward cause. 
This may be the beginning of love— it may be the want of 
lore. In either case it is time for me to begin my opera- 
tions on her fancies and her heart: in the one case, to 
divert the source of love to me ; in the other, in me to 
awaken it. It is for this that I have sought you." , 

"And how can I assist you?" 

u I am about to invite her to a feast in my house : I wish 
to dazzle — to bewilder — to inflame her senses. Our arts — 
the arts by which Egypt trained her young novitiates — 
must be employed; and, under veil of the mysteries of 
religion, I will open to her the secrets of love." 

** Ah ! now I understand : — one of those voluptuous 
b anq u ets that, despite our dull tows of mortified coldness, 
we T thy priests of Isis, have shared at thy house." 

** Xo, no ! Thinkest thou her chaste eyes are ripe for 
such scenes ? No ; but first we must ensnare the brother 
easier task. Listen to me, while I give you my 



CHAPTER V. 

XOSIC Of THE FLOWER-GIRL. — THE PROGRESS OP L0TF. 

The sun shone gaOy into that beautiful chamber in the 
house of Glaucus, which I have before said is now called 
"the Room of Leda." The morning rays entered through 

b 2 



52 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

rows of small casements at the higher part of the room, 
and through the door which opened on the garden, that 
answered to the inhabitants of the southern cities the same 
purpose that a greenhouse or conservatory does to us. 
The size of the garden did not adapt it for exercise, but 
the various and fragrant plants with which it was filled 
gave a luxury to that indolence so dear to the dwellers in 
a sunny clime. And now the odours, fanned by a gentle 
wind creeping from the adjacent sea, scattered themselves 
over that chamber, whose walls vied with the richest 
colours of the most glowing flowers. Besides the gem of 
the room — the painting of Leda and Tyndarus — in the 
centre of each compartment of the walls were set other 
pictures of exquisite beauty. In one you saw Cupid lean- 
ing on the knees of Venus ; in another Ariadne sleeping 
on the beach, unconscious of the perfidy of Theseus. 
Merrily the sunbeams played to and fro on the tessellated 
floor and the brilliant walls — far more happily came the 
rays of joy to the heart of the young Glaucus. 

" I have seen her, then," said he, as he paced that narrow 
chamber — " I have heard her — nay, I have spoken to her 
again — I have listened to the music of her song, and she 
sung of glory and of Greece. I have discovered the long- 
sought idol of my dreams ; and like the Cyprian sculptor, 
I have breathed life into my own imaginings." 

Longer, perhaps, had been the enamoured soliloquy of 
Glaucus, but at that moment a shadow darkened the 
threshold of the chamber, and a young female, still half a 
child in years, broke upon his solitude. She was dressed 
simply in a white tunic, which reached from the neck to 
the ankles ; under her arm she bore a basket of flowers, 
and in the other hand she held a bronze water- vase ; her 
features were more formed than exactly became her years, 
yet they were soft and feminine in their outline, and, 
without being beautiful in themselves, they were almost 
made so by their beauty of expression ; there was some- 
thing ineffably gentle, and you would say patient, in her 
aspect. A look of resigned sorrow, of tranquil endurance, 
had banished the smile, but not the sweetness, from her 
lips ; something timid and cautious in her step — something 
wandering in ner eyes, led you to suspect the affliction 
which she had suffered from her birth : — she was blind ; 
but in the orbs themselves there was no visible defect — 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 53 

their melancholy and subdued light was clear, cloudless, 
and serene. "They tell me that Glaucus is here," said 
she ; " may I come in ? " 

"Ah, my Nydia," said the Greek, "is that you? I 
knew you would not neglect my invitation." 

** Glaucus did but justice to himself," answered Nydia, 
with a blush ; " for he has always been kind to the poor 
blind girl-" 

" Who could be otherwise ? " said Glaucus, tenderly, and 
in the Toice of a compassionate brother. 

Nydia sighed and paused before she resumed, without 
replying to his remark. " You hare but lately returned ? " 

46 This is the sixth sun that hath shone upon me at 
Pompeii." 

"And you are well ? Ah, I need not ask — for who that 
sees the earth, which they tell me is so beautiful, can be 
ffl?" 

** I am welL And yon, Nydia — how you have grown ! 
Next year you will be thinking what answer to make your 



A second blush passed over the cheek of Nydia, but this 
time she frowned as she blushed. " I have brought you 
some flowers," said she, without replying to a remark that 
she seemed to resent ; and feeling about the room till she 
found the table that stood by Glaucus, she laid the basket 
upon it : c * they are poor, but they are fresh-gathered." 

"They might come from Flora herself," said he, kindly; 
** and I renew again my vow to the Graces, that I will 
wear no other garlands while thy hands can weave me 
such as these." 

•* And how find you the flowers in your viridarium ?— 
are they thriving ? " 

"Wonderfully so — the Lares themselves must have 
tended them." 

" Ah, now yon give me pleasure ; for I came, as often 
as I could steal the leisure, to water and tend them in your 



nee." 



How shall I thank thee, fair Nydia ? " said the Greek. 
" Glaucus little dreamed that he left one memory so 
watchful over his favourites at Pompeii." 

The hand of the child trembled, and her breast heaved 
beneath her tunic. She turned round in embarrassment. 
** The sun is hot for the poor flowers," said she, " to-day 



54 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

and they will miss me ; for I have been ill lately, and it is 
nine days since I visited them." 

" 111, Nydia ! — yet your cheek has more colour than it 
had last year." 

"I am often ailing," said the blind girl, touchingly; 
" and as I grow up I grieve more that I am blind. But 
now to the flowers ! " So saying, she made a slight reve- 
rence with her head, and passing into the viridarium, 
busied herself with watering the flowers. 

" Poor Nydia," thought Glaucus, gazing on her; "thine 
is a hard doom ! Thou seest not the earth — nor the sun — 
nor the ocean — nor the stars ; — above all, thou canst not 
behold lone." 

At that last thought his mind flew back to the past 
evening, and was a second time disturbed in its reveries by 
the entrance of Clodius. It was a proof how much a 
single evening had sufficed to increase and to refine the 
love of the Athenian for lone, that whereas he had con- 
fided to Clodius the secret of his first interview with her, 
and the effect it had produced on him, he now felt an in- 
vincible aversion even to mention to him her name. Ho 
had seen lone, bright, pure, unsullied, in the midst of the 
gayest and most profligate gallants of Pompeii, charming 
rather than awing the boldest into respect, and changing 
the very nature of the most sensual and the least ideal : — 
as by her intellectual and refining spells she reversed the 
fable of Circe, and converted the animals into men. They 
who could not understand her soul were made spiritual, as 
it were, by the magic of her beauty ; — they who had no 
heart for poetry had ears, at least, for the melody of her 
voice. Seeing her thus surrounded, purifying and brighten- 
ing all things with her presence, Glaucus almost for the 
first time felt the nobleness of his own nature, — he felt 
how unworthy of the goddess of his dreams had been his 
companions and his pursuits. A veil seemed lifted from 
his eyes ; he saw that immeasurable distance between him- 
self and his associates which the deceiving mists of pleasure 
had hitherto concealed ; he was refined by a sense of his 
courage in aspiring to lone. He felt that henceforth it 
was his destiny to look upward and to soar. He could no 
longer breathe that name, which sounded to the sense of 
his ardent fancy as something sacred and divine, to lewd 
and vulgar ears. She was no longer the beautiful girl 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 65 

once seen and passionately remembered, — she was already 
the mistress, the divinity of his soul. This feeling who 
has not experienced ? — If thon hast not, then thou hast 
never loved. 

When Clodius therefore spoke to him in affected trans- 
ports of the beauty of lone, Glaucus felt only resentment 
and disgust that such lips should dare to praise her ; he 
answered coldly, and the Roman imagined that his passion 
was cured instead of heightened. Clodius scarcely regret- 
ted it, for he was anxious that Glaucus should marry an 
heiress yet more richly endowed — Julia, the daughter of 
the wealthy Diomed, whose gold the gamester imagined 
he could readily divert into his own coffers. Their con- 
versation did not flow with its usual ease ; and no sooner 
had Clodius left him than Glaucus bent his way to the 
house of lone. In passing by the threshold he again 
encountered Xydia, who had finished her graceful task. 
She knew his step on the instant. 

*• You are early abroad ? " said she. 

" Yes ; for the skies of Campania rebuke the sluggard 
who neglects them." 

" Ah, would I could see them ! " murmured the blind girl, 
but so low that Glaucus did not overhear the complaint. 

The Thessalian lingered on the threshold a few moments, 
and then guiding her steps by a long staff, which she used 
with great dexterity, she took her way homeward. She 
soon turned from the more gaudy streets, and entered a 
quarter of the town but little loved by the decorous and 
the sober. But from the low and rude evidences of vice 
around her she was saved by her misfortune. And at that 
hour the streets were quiet and silent, nor was her youth- 
ful ear shocked by the sounds which too often broke along 
the obscene and obscure haunts she patiently and sadly 
traversed. 

She knocked at the back-door of a sort of tavern ; it 
opened, and a rude voice bade her give an account of the 
sesterces. Ere she could reply, another voice, less vulgarly 
accented, said — 

" Never mind those petty profits, my Burbo. The girl's 
voice will be wanted again soon at our rich friend's revels ; 
and he pays, as thou knowest, pretty high for his nightin- 
gales' tongues." 

" Oh, I hope not — I trust not," cried Nydia, trembling ; 



56 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

"I will beg from sunrise to sunset, but send me not 
there." 

" And why ? " asked the same voice. 

" Because — because I am young, and delicately born, 
and the female companions I meet there are not fit associates 
for one who — who " 

" Is a slave in the house of Burbo," returned the voice 
ironically, and with a coarse laugh. 

The Thessalian put down the flowers, and, leaning her 
fate on her hands, wept silently. 

Meanwhile, Glaucus sought the house of the beautiful 
Neapolitan. He found lone sitting amidst her attendants, 
who were at work around her. Her harp stood at her 
side, for lone herself was unusually idle, perhaps unusually 
thoughtful, that day. He thought her even more beautiful 
by the morning light, and in her simple robe, than amidst 
the blazing lamps, and decorated with the costly jewels of 
the previous night : not the less so from a certain paleness 
that overspread her transparent hues, — not the less so from 
the blush that mounted over them when ho approached. 
Accustomed to flatter, flattery died upon his lips when ho 
addressed lone. He felt it beneath her to utter the homage 
which every look conveyed. They spoke of Greece ; this 
was a theme on which lone loved rather to listen than to 
converse : it was a theme on which the Greek could have 
been eloquent for ever. He described to her the silver 
olive groves that yet clad the banks of Ilyssus, and the 
temples, already despoiled of half their glories — but how 
beautiful in decay ! He looked back on the melancholy 
city of Harmodius the free, and Pericles the magnificent, 
from the height of that distant memory, which mellowed 
into one hazy light all the ruder and darker shades. He 
had seen the land of poetry chiefly in the poetical age of 
early youth ; and the associations of patriotism were 
blended with those of the flush and spring of life. And 
lone listened to him, absorbed and mute ; dearer were 
those accents, and those descriptions, than all the prodigal 
adulation of her numberless adorers. Was it a sin to love 
her countryman ? she loved Athens in him — the gods of 
her race, the land of her dreams, spoke to her in his voice! 
From that time they daily saw each other. At the cool of 
the evening they made excursions on the placid sea. By 
night they met again in Ione's porticos and halls. Their 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 57 

love was sudden, but it was strong ; it filled all the sources 
of their life. Heart — brain — sense — imagination, all were 
its ministers and priests. As yon take some obstacle from 
two objects that have a mutual attraction, they met, and 
united at once; their wonder was, that they had lived 
separate so long. And it was natural that they should so 
love. Young, beautiful, and gifted, — of the same birth, 
and the same souls ; — there was poetry in their very union. 
They imagined the heavens smiled upon their affection. 
As the persecuted seek refuge at the shrine, so they recog- 
nised in the altar of their love an asylum from the sorrows 
of earth ; they covered it with flowers, — they knew not of 
the serpents that lay coiled behind. 

One evening, the fifth after their first meeting at 
Pompeii, Glaucus and lone, with a small party of chosen 
friends, were returning from an excursion round the bay ; 
their vessel skimmed lightly over the twilight waters, 
whose lucid mirror was only broken by the dripping oars. 
As the rest of the party conversed gaily with each other, 
Glaucus lay at the feet of lone, and he would have looked 
up in her face, but he did not dare. lone broke the pause 
between them. 

"My poor brother," said she, sighing, "how once he 
would have enjoyed this hour ! " 

" Your brother ! " said Glaucus ; " I have not seen him. 
Occupied with you, I have thought of nothing else, or I 
should have asked if that was not your brother for whose 
companionship you left me at the Temple of Minerva, in 
Neapolis ? " 

" It was." 

" And is he here ? " 

" He is." 

" At Pompeii ! and not constantly with you ? Impos- 
sible ! " 

" He has other duties," answered lone, sadly ; " he is a 
priest of Isis." 

" So young, too ; and that priesthood, in its laws at least, 
so severe ! " said the warm and bright-hearted Greek, in 
surprise and pity. "What could have been his induce- 
ment?" 

"He was always enthusiastic and fervent in religious 
devotion : and the eloquence of an Egyptian — our friend 
and guardian — kindled in him the pious desire to conse- 



58 THE LAST DAYS OP POMFEIL 

crate his life to the most mystic of our deities. Perhaps 
in the intenseness of his zeal, he found in the severity of 
that peculiar priesthood its peculiar attraction." 

" And he does not repent his choice ? — I trust ho is 
happy." 

lone sighed deeply, and lowered her veil over her eyes. 

" I wish," said she, after a pause, " that he had not been 
so hasty. Perhaps, like all who expect too much, he is 
revolted too easily ! " 

" Then he is not happy in his new condition. And this 
Egyptian, was he a priest himself ? was ho interested in 
recruits to the sacred band ? " 

"No. His main interest was in our happiness. Ho 
thought he promoted that of my brother. We were left 
orphans." 

" Like myself," said Glaucus, with a deep meaning in 
his voice. 

lone cast down her eyes as she resumed, — 

" And Arbaces sought to supply the place of our parent. 
You must know him. He loves genius." 

" Arbaces ! I know him already ; at least, we speak 
when we meet. I Jut for your praise I would not seek to 
know more of him. My heart inclines readily to most of 
my kind. But that dark Egyptian, with his gloomy brow 
and icy smiles, seems to me to sadden the very sun. One 
would think that, like Epimcnidcs, the Cretan, he had spent 
forty years in a cave, and had found something unnatural 
in the daylight over afterwardu." 

" Yet, like Epimenides, he is kind, and wise, and gentle," 
answered Tone. 

" Oh, happy that he has thy praise ! He needs no other 
virtues to make him dear to me." 

" His calm, his coldness," said lone, evasively pursuing 
the subject, "arc perliaps but the exhaustion of past suffer- 
ings ; as yonder mountain (and she pointed to Vesuvius), 
which wo see dark and tranquil in the distance, once 
nursed the fires for ever quenched." 

They both gazed on the mountain as lone said these 
words ; the rest of the sky was bathed in rosy and tender 
hues, but over that grey summit, rising amidst the woods 
and vineyards that then clomb half-way up the ascent, 
there hung a black and ominous cloud, the single frown of 
the landscape. A sudden and unaccountable gloom came 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 59 

over each as they thus gazed ; and in that sympathy which 
love had already tanght them, and which hade them, in 
the slightest shadows of emotion, the faintest presentiment 
of evil, turn for refuge to each other, their gaze at the 
same moment left the mountain, and, full of unimaginable 
tenderness, met. What need had they of words to say they 
loved ? 



CHAPTER VI. 



THE FOWLER SNARES AGAIN THE BIRD THAT HAD JUST ESCAPED, 
AND SETS HIS NETS FOR A NEW VICTIM. 

In the history I relate, the events aro crowded and rapid 
as those of the drama. I write of an epoch in which days 
sufficed to ripen the ordinary fruits of years. 

Meanwhile, Arbaces had not of late much frequented the 
house of lone ; and when he had visited her he had not 
encountered Glaucus, nor knew he, as yet, of that love 
which had so suddenly sprung up between himself and his 
designs. In his interest for the brother of lone, ho had 
been forced, too, a little while, to suspend his interest in 
lone herself. His pride and his selfishness wero aroused 
and alarmed at the sudden change which had come over 
the spirit of the youth. He trembled lest he himself should 
lose a docile pupil, and Isis an enthusiastic servant. 
Apaxides had ceased to seek or to consult him. Ho was 
rarely to be found ; he turned sullenly from the Egyptian, 
— nay, he fled when he perceived him in the distance. 
Arbaces was one of those haughty and powerful spirits 
accustomed to master others ; he chafed at the notion that 
one once his own should ever elude his grasp. He swore 
inly that Aprocides should not escape him. 

It was with this resolution that he passed through a 
thick grove in the city, which lay between his house and 
that of lone, in his way to the fetter ; and there, leaning 
against a tree, and gazing on the ground, he came unawares 
on the young priest of Isis. 

" Apaecides ! " said he, — and ho laid his hand affec- 
tionately on the young man's shoulder. 

The priest started ; and his first instinct seemed to be 
that of flight. " My son," said the Egyptian, " what has 
chanced that you desire to shun me P " 



60 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

Apcecides remained silent and sullen, looking down on 
the earth, as his lips quivered, and his breast heaved with 
emotion. 

" Speak to me, my friend," continued the Egyptian. 
" Speak. Something burdens thy spirit. What hast thou 
to reveal ? " 

" To thee— nothing." 

" And why is it to me thon art thus unconfidential ? " 

" Because thou hast been my enemy." 

" Let us confer," said Arbaces, in a low voice ; and 
drawing the reluctant arm of the priest in his own, he led 
him to one of the seats which were scattered within the 
grove. They sat down, — and in those gloomy forms there 
was something congenial to the shade and solitude of the 
place. 

Apsecides was in the spring of bis years, yet be seemed 
to have exhausted even more of life than the Egyptian ; 
his delicate and regular features were worn and colourless ; 
his eyes were hollow, and shone with a brilliant and 
feverish glare ; his frame bowed prematurely, and in his 
hands, which were small to effeminacy, the bine and 
swollen veins indicated the lassitude and weakness of the 
relaxed fibres. You saw in his face a strong resemblance 
to lone, but the expression was altogether different from 
that majestic and spiritual calm which breathed so divine 
and classical a repose over his sister's beauty. In her, 
enthusiasm was visible, but it seemed always suppressed 
and restrained ; this made the charm and sentiment of her 
countenance ; you longed to awaken a spirit which reposed, 
but evidently did not sleep. In Apeecides the whole aspect 
betokened the fervour and passion of his temperament, and 
the intellectual portion of his nature seemed, by the wild 
fire of the eyes, the great breadth of the temples when 
compared with the height of the brow, the trembling rest- 
lessness of the lips, to be swayed and tyrannised over by 
the imaginative and ideal. Fancy, with the sister, had. 
stopped short at the golden gaol of poetry; with the 
brother, less happy and less restrained, it had wandered 
into visions more intangible and unembodied; and the 
faculties which gave genius to the one threatened madness 
to the other. 

" Yon say I have been your enemy," said Arbaces. " I 
know the cause of that unjust accusation : I have placed 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 61 

yon amidst the priests of Isis — you are revolted at their 
trickeries and imposture — you think that I too have de- 
ceived you — the purity of your mind is offended — you 
imagine that I am one of the deceitful " 

"You knew the jugglings of that impious craft," an. 
swered Apsecides ; " why did you disguise them from me ? 
— When you excited my desire to devote myself to the 
office whose garb I bear, you spoke to me of the holy life of 
men resigning themselves to knowledge — you have given me 
for companions an ignorant and sensual herd, who have no 
knowledge but that of the grossest frauds ; — you spoke to me 
of men sacrificing the earthlier pleasures to the sublime cul- 
tivation of virtue— you place me amongst men reeking with 
all the filthiness of vice ; — you spoke to me of the friends, 
the enlighteners of our common kind — I see but their 
cheats and deluders ! Oh ! it was basely done ! — you have 
robbed me of the glory of youth, of the convictions of 
virtue, of the sanctifying thirst after wisdom. Young as I 
was, rich, fervent, the sunny pleasures of earth before me, 
I resigned all without a sigh, nay, with happiness and 
exultation, in the thought that I resigned them for tho 
abstruse mysteries of diviner wisdom, for the companion- 
ship of gods — for the revelations of Heaven — and now — 
now 

Convulsive sobs checked the priest's voice : he covered 
his face with his hands, and large tears forced themselves 
through the wasted fingers, and ran profusely down his 



" What I promised to thee, that will I give, my friend, 
my P^pil: these have been but trials to thy virtue — it 
comes forth the brighter for thy noviciate, — think no more 
of those dull cheats — assort no more with those menials of 
the goddess, the atrienses * of her hall — you are worthy to 
enter into the*penetralia. I henceforth will be your priest, 
your guide, and you who now curse my friendship shall 
live to bless it." 

The young man lifted up his head, and gazed with a 
vacant and wondering stare upon the Egyptian. 

** Listen to me," continued Arbaces, in an earnest and 
solemn voice, casting first his searching eyes around to see 
that they were still alone. " From Egypt came all the 

• The alaves who had the care of the atrium. 



62 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPETL 

knowledge of the world; from Egypt came the lore of 
Athens, and the profound policy of Crete; from. Egypt 
came those early and mysterious tribes which (long before 
the hordes of Romulus swept over the plains of Italy, and 
in the eternal cycle of events drove back civilisation into 
barbarism and darkness) possessed all the arts of wisdom 
and the graces of intellcctHal life. From Egypt came the 
rites and the grandeur of that solemn Caere, whose inhabit- 
ants taught their iron vanquishers of Borne all that they yet 
know of elevated in religion and sublime in worship. 
And how deemest thou, young man, that that dread Egypt, 
the mother of countless nations, achieved her greatness, 
and soared to her cloud-capt eminence of wisdom? — It was 
the result of a profound and holy policy. Your modern 
nations owe their greatness to Egypt-— Egypt her greatness 
to her priests. Rapt in themselves, coveting a sway over 
the nobler part of man, his soul and his belief, those ancient 
ministers of God were inspired with the grandest thought 
that ever exalted mortals. From the revolutions of the 
stars, from the seasons of thp earth, from the round and 
unvarying circle of human destinies, they devised an 
august allegory ; they made it gross and palpable to the 
vulgar by the signs of gods and goddesses, and that 
which in reality was Government they named Religion. 
Isis is a fable — start not ! — that for which Isis is a type is 
a reality, an immortal being; Isis is nothing. Nature, 
which she represents, is the mother of all things — dark, 
ancient, inscrutable, save to the gifted few. ' None among 
mortals hath ever lifted up my veil,' so saith the Isis that 
you adore ; but to the wise that veil hath been removed, 
and we have stood face to face with the solemn loveliness 
of Nature. The priests then were the benefactors, the 
civilisers of mankind ; true, they were also cheats, impos- 
tors if you will. But think you, young man, that if they 
had not deceived their kind they could have served them? 
The ignorant and servile vulgar must be blinded to attain 
to their proper good ; they would not believe a maxim— 
they revere an oracle. The Emperor of Rome sways the 
vast and various tribes of earth, and harmonises the con- 
flicting and disunited elements ; thence come peace, order, 
law, the blessings of life. Think you it is the man, the 
emperor, that thus sways ? — no, it is the pomp, the awe, 
the majesty that surround him — these are his impostures, 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIT. 63 

his delusions ; our oracles and our divinations, our rites 
and our ceremonies, are the means of our sovereignty and 
the engines of our power. They are the same means to the 
same end, the welfare and harmony of mankind. You 
listen to me rapt and intent — the light begins to dawn 
upon you." 

Apascides remained silent, but the changes rapidly pass- 
ing over his speaking countenance betrayed the effect pro- 
duced upon him by the words of the Egyptian — words 
made tenfold more eloquent by the voice, the aspect, and 
the manner of the man. 

" While, then," resumed Arbaces, " our fathers of the 
Nile thus achieved the first elements by whose life chaos is 
destroyed, namely, the obedience and reverence of the 
multitude for the few, they drew from their majestic and 
starred meditations that wisdom which was no delusion : 
they invented the codes and regularities of law — the arts 
and glories of existence. They asked belief ; they returned 
the |ift by civilisation. Were not their very cheats a 
virtue! Trust me, whosoever in yon far heavens of a 
diviner and more beneficent nature look down upon our 
world, smile approvingly on the wisdom which has worked 
such ends. But you wish me to apply these generalities to 
yourself ; I hasten to obey the wish. The altars of the 
goddess of our ancient faith must be served, and served too 
by others than the stolid and soulless things that are but 
as pegs and hooks whereon to hang* the fillet and the robe. 
Remember two sayings of Sextus the Pythagorean, sayings 
borrowed from the lore of Egypt. The first is, ' Speak not 
of God to the multitude ; ' the second is, ' The man worthy 
of God is a god among men.' As Genius gave to the 
ministers of Egypt worship, that empire in late ages so 
fearfully decayed, thus by Genius only can the dominion be 
restored. I saw in you, Apaacides, a pupil worthy of my 
lessons — a minister worthy of the great ends which may 
yet be wrought : your energy, your talents, your purity of 
faith, your earnestness of enthusiasm, all fitted you for that 
calling which demands so imperiously high and ardent 
qualities : I fanned, therefore, your sacred desires ; 1 
stimulated you to the step you have taken. But you blame 
me that I did not reveal to you the little souls and the 
juggling tricks of your companions. Had I done so, 
Apaxrides, I had defeated my own object; your noble 



64 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

nature would have at once revolted, and Isis would have 
lost her priest." 

Apavcides groaned aloud. The Egyptian continued, with- 
out heeding the interruption. 

" I placed you, therefore, without preparation, in the 
temple ; I left you suddenly to discover and to he sickened 
by all those mummeries which dazzle the herd. I desired 
that you should perceive how those engines are moved by 
which the fountain that refreshes the world casts its waters 
in the air. It was the trial ordained of old to all our 
priests. They who accustom themselves to the impostures 
of the vulgar, are left to practise them ; — for those like you, 
whose higher natures demand higher pursuit, religion 
opens more godlike 6ecreis. I am pleased to find in yon 
the character I had expected. You have taken the vows ; 
you cannot recede. Advance — I will be your guide." 

" And what wilt thou teach me, O singular and fearful 
man ? New cheats — new " 

" No — I have thrown thee into the abyss of disbelief ; I 
will lead thee now to the eminence of faith. Thou hast 
seen the false types: thou shalt learn now the realities 
they represent. There is no shadow, Apsecides, without its 
substance. Come to me this night. Your hand." 

Impressed, excited, bewildered by the language of the 
Egyptian, Apaecides gave him his hand, and master and 
pupil parted. 

It was true that for Apaecides there was no retreat. He 
had taken the vows of celibacy : he had devoted himself to 
a life that at present seemed to possess all the austerities of 
fanaticism, without any of the consolations of belief. It 
was natural that he should yet cling to a yearning desire to 
reconcile himself to an irrevocable career. The powerful 
and profound mind of the Egyptian yet claimed an empire 
over his young imagination ; excited him with vague con- 
jecture, and kept him alternately vibrating between hope 
and fear. 

Meanwhile Arbaces pursued his slow and stately way to 
the house of lone. As he entered the tablinum, he heard a 
voice from the porticos of the peristyle beyond, which, 
musical as it was, sounded displeasingly on his ear — it was 
the voice of the young and beautiful Glancus, and for the 
first time an involuntary thrill of jealousy shot through the 
breast of the Egyptian. On entering the peristyle, he 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 65 

found Glaucus seated by the side of lone. The fountain 
in the odorous garden cast up its silver spray in the air, 
and kept a delicious coolness in the midst of the sultry 
noon. The handmaids, almost invariably attendant N on 
lone, who with her freedom of life preserved the most 
delicate modesty, sat at a little distance ; by the feet of 
Glaucus lay the lyre on which he had been playing to 
lone one of the Lesbian airs. The scene — the group before 
Arbaces, was stamped by that peculiar and refined ideality 
of poesy which we yet, not erroneously, imagine to be 
the distinction of the ancients, — the marble columns, the 
vases of flowers, the statue, white and tranquil, closing 
every vista ; and, above all, the two living forms, [i rom 
which a sculptor might have caught cither inspiration or 
despair! 

Arbacee, pausing for a moment, gazed on the pair with a 
brow from which all the usual stern serenity had fled ; he 
recovered himself by an effort, and slowly approached 
them, but with a step so soft and echoless, that even the 
attendants heard him not ; much less lone and her lover. 

" And yet," said Glaucus, " it is only before we love that 
we imagine that our poets have truly described the passion ; 
the instant the sun rises, all the stars that had shone in his 
absence vanish into air. The poets exist only in the night 
of the heart ; they are nothing to us when we feel the full 
glory of the god." 

" A gentle and most glowing image, noble Glaucus." 

Both started, and recognised behind the seat of lone the 
cold and sarcastic face of the Egyptian. 

" Yon are a sudden guest," said Glaucus, rising, and 
with a forced smile. 

" So ought all to be who know they are welcome," 
returned Arbaces, seating himself, and motioning to Glau- 
cus to do the same. 

" I am glad," said lone, " to see you at length together ; 
for yon are suited to each other, and you are formed to be 
friends." 

" Give me back some fifteen years of We," replied the 
Egyptian, "before you can place me on an equality with 
Glaucus. Happy should I be to receive his friendship ; 
but what can I give him in return ? Can I make to him 
the same confidences that he would repose in me— of 



66 THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEH. 

banquets and garlands— of Parthian steeds, and the chances 
of the dice ? these pleasures suit his age, his nature, his 
career : they are not for mine." 

So saying, the artful Egyptian looked down and sighed ; 
but from the corner of his eye he stole a glance towards 
lone, to see how she received these insinuations of the pur- 
suits of her visitor. Her countenance did not satisfy him. 
Glaucus, slightly colouring, hastened gaily to reply. Nor 
was he, perhaps, without the wish in his turn to disconcert 
and abash the Egyptian. 

" You are right, wise Arbaces," said he ; " we can esteem 
each other, but we cannot be friends. My banquets lack 
the secret salt, which, according to rumour, gives such 
zest to your own. And, by Hercules ! when I have reached 
your age, if I, like you, may think it wise to pursue the 
pleasures of manhood, like you, I shall be doubtless 
sarcastic on the gallantries of youth." 

The Egyptian raised his eyes to Glaucus with a sudden 
and piercing glance. 

" I do not understand you," said he, coldly ; " but it is 
the custom to consider that wit lies in obscurity." He 
turned from Glaucus as he spoke, with a scarcely percep- 
tible sneer of contempt, and after a moment's pause 
addressed himself to lone. " I have not, beautiful lone/' 
said he, " been fortunate enough to find you within doors 
the last two or three times that I have visited your 
vestibule." 

" The smoothness of the sea has tempted me much from 
home," replied lone, with a little embarrassment. 

The embarrassment did not escape Arbaces ; but without 
seeming to heed it, he replied with a smile : " Yon know 
the old poet says, that * Women should keep within doors, 
and there converse.' " # 

" The poet was a cynic," said Glaucus, " and hated 
women." 

" He spake according to the customs of his country, and 
that country is your boasted Greece." 

" To different periods different customs. Had our fore* 
fathers known lone, they had made a different law." 

" Did you learn these pretty gallantries at Borne ? " said 
Arbaces, with ill-suppressed emotion. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 67 

" One certainly would not go for gallantries to Egypt,'* 
retorted Glaucns, playing carelessly with his chain. 

" Come, come," said lone, hastening to interrupt a con- 
versation which she saw, to her great distress, was so little 
likely to cement the intimacy she had desired to effect 
between Glaucns and her friend, " Arbaces must not be so 
bard upon his poor pupil. An orphan, and without a 
mother's care, I may be to blame for the independent and 
almost masculine liberty of life that I have chosen : yet it 
is not greater than the Roman women are accustomed to — 
it is not greater than the Grecian ought to be. Alas ! is it 
only to be among men that freedom and virtue are to be 
deemed united? Why should the slavery that destroys 
you be considered the only method to preserve us ? Ah ! 
believe me, it has been the great error of men — and one 
that has worked bitterly on their destinies — to imagine that 
the nature of women is (I will not say inferior, that may 
be so, but) so different from their own, inmaking laws 
unfavourable to the intellectual advancement of women. 
Have they not, in so doing, made laws against their 
children, whom women are to rear ? — against the husbands, 
of whom women are to be the friends, nay, sometimes the 
advisers ? " lone stopped short suddenly, and her face was 
suffused with the most enchanting blushes. She feared 
lest her enthusiasm had led her too far ; yet she feared the 
austere Arbaces less than the courteous Glaucus, for she 
loved the last, and it was not the custom of the Greeks to 
allow their women (at least such of their women as they 
most honoured) the same liberty and the same station as 
those of Italy enjoyed. She felt, therefore, a thrill of 
delight as Glaucus earnestly replied, — 

" Ever mayst thou think thus, lone — ever be your pure 
heart your unerring guide ! Happy it had been for Greece 
if she had given to the chaste the same intellectual charms 
that are so celebrated amongst the less worthy of her 
women. No state falls from freedom — from knowledge, 
while your sex smile only on the free, and by appreciating, 
encourage the wise." 

Arbaces was silent, for it was neither his part to sanction 
the sentiment of Glaucus, nor to condemn that of lone ; 
and, after a short and embarrassed conversation, Glaucus 
took his leave of lone. 

When he was gone, Arbaces, drawing his seat nearer to 

v o 



68 THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 

the fair Neapolitan's, said in those bland and subdued 
tones, in which he knew so well how to veil the mingled 
art and fierceness of his character, — 

" Think not, m y sweet pupil, if so I may call yon, that I 
wish to shackle that liberty yon adorn while yon assume : 
hut which, if not greater, as yon rightly observe, than that 
possessed by the Roman women, mnst at least be accom- 
panied by great circumspection, when arrogated by one 
unmarried. Continue to draw crowds of the gay, the 
brilliant, the wise themselves, to your feet — continue to 
charm them with the conversation of an Aspasia, the musks 
of an Erinna — but reflect, at least, on those censorious 
tongues which can so easily blight the tender reputation of 
a maiden ; and while you provoke admiration, give, I be- 
seech yon, no victory to envy." 

" What mean you, Arbaces ? " said lone, in an alarmed 
and trembling voice : "I know you are my friend, that you 
desire only my honour and my welfare. What is it you 
would say ? " 

" Your friend — ah, how sincerely ! May I speak then as 
a friend, without reserve and without offence ? " 

" I beseech you do so." 

" This young profligate, this Glaucus, how didst thou 
know him? Hast thou seen him often ? " And as Ar- 
baces spoke, he fixed his gaze steadfastly upon lone, as if 
he sought to penetrate into her soul. 

Recoiling before that gaze, with a strange fear which 
she could not explain, the Neapolitan answered with con- 
fusion and hesitation, — " He was brought to my house as a 
countryman of my father's, and I may say of mine. I have 
known him only within this last week or so : but why 
these questions ? " 

" Forgive me," said Arbaces ; " I thought you might 
have known him longer. Base insinuator that he is ! " 

" How ! what mean you ? Why that term ? " 

" It matters not : let me not rouse your indignation 
against one who does not deserve so grave an honour." 

" I implore you speak. What has Glaucus insinuated ? 
or rather, in what do you suppose he has offended ? " 

Smothering his resentment at the last part of Ione's 
question, Arbaces continued, — "You know his pursuits, 
his companions, his habits; the oomissatio and the alea 
(the revel and the dice) make his occupation ; — and 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 69 

amongst the associates of vice how can he dream of 
virtue ?" 

" Still yon speak riddles. By the gods ! I entreat yon, 
say the worst at once." 

" Well, then, it mnst be so. Know, my lone, that it was 
bnt yesterday that Glancns boasted openly — yes, in the 
public baths-—of yonr love to him. He said it amused him 
to take advantage of it. Nay, I will do him justice, he 
praised yonr beauty. Who could deny it ? But ho 
laughed scornfully when his Clodius, or his Lepidus, asked 
him if he loved yon enough for marriage, and when he 
purposed to adorn his door-posts with flowers ? " 

" Impossible ! How heard you this base slander ? " 

" Nay, would you have me relate to you all the com- 
ments of the insolent coxcombs with which the story has 
circled through the town ? Be assured that I myself dis- 
believed at first, and that I have now painfully been con- 
vinced by several ear- witnesses of the truth of what I have 
reluctantly told thee." 

lone sank back, and her face was whiter than the pillar 
against which she leaned for support. 

" I own it vexed — it irritated me, to hear your name 
thus lightly pitched from lip to Up, like some mere dancing- 
girl's fame. I hastened this morning to seek and to warn 
you. I found Glancns here. I was stung from my self- 
possession. I could not conceal my feelings ; nay, I was 
uncourteous in thy presence. Canst thou forgive thy 
friend, lone ? " 

lone placed her hand in his, but replied not. 

" Think no more of this," said he ; " but let it be a 
warning voice, to tell thee how much prudence thy lot 
requires. It cannot hurt thee, lone, for a moment ; for a 
gay thing like this could never have been honoured by even 
a serious thought from lone. These insults only wound 
when they come from one we love ; for different nldeed is 
he whom the lofty lone shall stoop to love." 

" Love ! " muttered lone, with an hysterical laugh. 
•< Ay, indeed." 

It is not without interest to observe in those remote times, 
and under a social system so widely different from the 
modern, the same small causes that ruffle and interrupt the 
" course of love," which operate so commonly at this day ; 
—the same inventive jealousy, the same cunning slander, 



70 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

the same crafty and fabricated retailings of petty gossip, 
which so often now suffice to break the ties of the truest 
love, and counteract the tenor of circumstances most appa- 
rently propitious. When the bark sails on over the 
smoothest wave, the fable tells us of the diminutive fish 
that can cling to the keel and arrest its progress : so is it 
ever with the great passions of mankind ; and we should 
paint life but ill if, even in times the most prodigal of 
romance, and of the romance of which we most largely 
avail ourselves, we did not also describe the mechanism of 
those trivial and household springs of mischief which we 
see every day at work in our chambers and at our hearths. 
It is in these, the lesser intrigues of life, that we mostly 
find ourselves at home with the past. 

Most cunningly had the Egyptian appealed to Ione's 
ruling foible — most dexterously had he applied the poisoned, 
dart to her pride. He fancied he had arrested what he 
hoped, from the shortness of the time she had known 
Glaucus, was, at most, but an incipient fancy ; and hasten- 
ing to change the subject, he now led her to talk of her 
brother. Their conversation did not last long. He left 
her, resolved not again to trust so much to absence, but to 
visit — to watch her — every day. 

No sooner had his shadow glided from her presence, 
than woman's pride — her sex's dissimulation — deserted his 
intended victim, and the haughty lone burst into passionate 
tears. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE GAT LIFE OP THE POMPEIAN LOUNGER. — A MINIATURE 
LIKENESS OP THE ROMAN BATHS. 

When Glaucus left lone, he felt as if he trod upon air. 
In the interview with which he had just been blessed, he 
had for the first time gathered from her distinctly that his 
love was not unwelcome to, and would not be unrewarded 
by, her. This hope filled him with a rapture for which 
earth and heaven seemed too narrow to afford a vent. 
Unconscious of the sudden enemy he had left behind, and 
forgetting not only his taunts but his very existence, 
Glaucus passed through the gay streets, repeating to hin> 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 71 

self, in the wantonness of joy, the music of the soft air to 
which lone bad listened with such intentness ; and now ho 
entered the Street of Fortune, with its raised footpath — its 
houses painted without, and the open doors admitting tho 
view of the glowing frescoes within. Each end of the 
street was adorned with a triumphal arch : and as Glaucus 
now came before the Temple of Fortune, the jutting por- 
tico of that beautiful fane (which is supposed to have been 
built by one of the family of Cicero, perhaps by the orator 
himself) imparted a dignified and venerable feature to a 
scene otherwise more brilliant than lofty in its character. 
That temple was one of the most graceful specimens of 
Roman architecture. It was raised on a somewhat lofty 
podium ; and between two flights of steps ascending to a 
platform stood the altar of the goddess. From this plat- 
form another flight of broad stairs led to the portico, from 
tho height of whose fluted columns hung festoons of the 
richest flowers. On either side the extremities of tho 
temple were placed statues of Grecian workmanship ; and 
at a little distance from the temple rose the triumphal arch 
crowned with an equestrian statue of Caligula, which was 
flanked by trophies of bronze. In the space before the 
temple a lively throng were assembled — some seated on 
benches and discussing tho politics of the empire, some 
conversing on the approaching spectacle of the amphi- 
theatre. One knot of young men were lauding a new 
beauty, another discussing the merits of the last play ; a 
third group, more stricken in age, were speculating on tho 
chance of the trade with Alexandria, and amidst these wero 
many merchants in the Eastern costume, whose loose and 
peculiar robes, painted and gemmed slippers, and com- 
posed and serious countenances, formed a striking contrast 
to the tunicked forms and animated gestures of tho 
Italians. For that impatient and lively people had, as now, 
a language distinct from speech — a language of signs and 
motions, inexpressibly significant and vivacious : their 
descendants retain it, and the learned Jorio hath written a 
most entertaining work upon that species of hieroglyphical 
gesticulation. 

Sauntering through the crowd, Glaucus soon found him- 
self amidst a group of his merry and dissipated friends. 

" Ah ! " said Sallust, " it is a lustrum since I saw 
you." 



s 



72 THE LAST DAY3 OP POMP£rL 

"And how have yon spent the lustrum? What new 
dishes have you discovered ? " 

44 1 have been scientific," returned Sallnst, " and hare 
made some experiments in the feeding of lampreys ; I con- 
fess I despair of bringing them to the perfection which our 
Soman ancestors attained." 

" Miserable man ! and why ? " 

*' Because," returned Sallnst, with a sigh, "it is no 
longer lawful to give them a slave to eat. I am very often 
tempted to make away with a very fat carptor (butler) 
whom I possess, and pop him slily into the reservoir. He 
would give the fish a most oleaginous flavour ! But slaves 
are not slaves nowadays, and have no sympathy with their 
masters' interest — or Davus would destroy himself to 
oblige me ! " 

" What news from Rome? " said Lepidus, as he languidly 
joined the group. 

" The emperor has been giving a splendid supper to the 
senators," answered Sallnst. 

" He is a good creature," quoth Lepidus ; " they say he 
never sends a man away without granting his request." 

" Perhaps he would let me kill a slave for my reser- 
voir ? " returned Sallnst. eagerly. 

" Xot unlikely," said Glancns ; " for he who grants a 
favour to one Roman, most always do it at the expense of 
another. Be sure, that for every smile Titus has caused, a 
hundred eyes have wept." 

" I*>ng live Titus ! " cried Pansa, overhearing the em- 
peror's name, as he swept patronisingly through the crowd; 
" he has promised my brother a qusestorship, because he 
had run through his fortune." 

" And wishes now to enrich himself among the people, 
my Pansa." said Glaucus. 

<; f Exactly so," said Pansa. 

li That is putting the people to some use," said Glancns. 

44 To be snre," returned Pansa. " Well, I must go »wd 
look after the scrarinm — it is a little out of repair ; " and 
followed by a long train of clients, distinguished from the 
rest of the throng by the togas they wore (for togas, once 
the sign of freedom in a citizen, were now the bodge of 
servility to a patron), the aedile fidgeted fussOy away. 

" Poor Pansa ! " said Lepidus : " he never has time for 
pleasure. Thank Heaven I am not an aedile ! " 



cc 
cc 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 73 

"Ah, Glaucus! how are yon? gay as ever?" said 
Clodius, joining the group. 

" Are yon come to sacrifice to Fortune ? " said Sallust. 

" I sacrifice to her every night," returned the gamester. 

" I do not doubt it. No man has made more victims ! " 

** By Hercules, a biting speech ! " cried Glaucus, laughing. 

" The dog's letter is never out of your mouth, Sallust," 
said Clodius, angrily : " you are always snarling." 

" I may well have the dog's letter in my mouth, since, 
whenever I play with you, I have the dog's throw in my 
hand," returned Sallust. 

" Hist ! " said Glaucus, taking a rose from a flower-girl, 
who stood beside. 

" The rose is the token of silence," replied Sallust ; " but 
I love only to see it at the supper- table." 

" Talking of that, Diomed gives a grand feast next week,"* 
said Sallust : " are you invited, Glaucus ? " 
Yes, I received an invitation this morning." 
And I, too," said Sallust, drawing a square piece of 
papyrus from his girdle : "I see that he asks us an hour 
earlier than usual : an earnest of something sumptuous."* 

" Oh ! he is rich as Croesus," said Clodius ; " and his 
hill of fare is as long as an epic." 

" Well, let us to the baths," said Glaucus : " this is the 
time when all the world is there ; and Fulvims, whom you 
admire so much, is going to read us his last ode." 

The young men assented readily to the proposal, and 
they strolled to the baths. 

Although the public therm©, or baths, were instituted 
rather for the poorer citizens than the wealthy (for the 
last had baths in their own houses), yet, to the crowds of 
all ranks who resorted to them, it was a favourite place for 
conversation, and for that indolent lounging so dear to a 
gay and thoughtless people. The baths at Pompeii differed, 
of course, in plan and construction from the vast and com- 
plicated thermae of Rome ; and, indeed, it seems that in 
each city of the empire there was always some slight modi- 
fication of arrangement in the general architecture of the 
public baths. This mightily puzzles the learned, — as if 
architects and fashion were not capricious before the nine- 

• The Romans sent tickets of invitation, like the moderns, specifying the 
hour of the repast; which, if the intended feast was to he sumptuous, wa 
««rlier than usual. 



A 



74 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

teenth century ! Our party entered by the principal porch 
in the Street of Fortune. At the wing of the portico sat 
the keeper of the baths, with his two boxes before him, one 
for the money he received, one for the tickets he dispensed. 
Round the walls of the portico were seats crowded with 
persons of all ranks ; while others, as the regimen of the 
physicians prescribed, were walking briskly to and fro 
the portico, stopping every now and then to gaze on the 
innumerable notices of shows, games, sales, exhibitions, 
which were painted or inscribed upon the walls. The 
general subject of conversation was, however, the spectacle 
announced in the amphitheatre ; and each new-comer was 
fastened upon by a group eager to know if Pompeii had 
been so fortunate as to produce some monstrous criminal, 
some happy case of sacrilege or of murder, which would 
allow the eediles to provide a man for the jaws of the lion : 
all other more common exhibitions seemed dull and tame, 
when compared with the possibility of this fortunate 
occurrence. 

" For my part," said one jolly-looking man, who was a 
goldsmith, " I think the emperor, if he is as good as they 
say, might have sent us a Jew." 

" Why not take one of the new sect of Nazarenes ? n said 
a philosopher. " I am not cruel : but an atheist, one who 
denies Jupiter himself, deserves no mercy." 

" I care not how many gods a man likes to believe m," 
said the goldsmith ; " but to deny all gods is something 
monstrous." 

" Yet I fancy," said Glaucus, " that these people are not 
absolutely atheists. I am told that they believe in a God 
— nay, in a future state." 

" Quite a mistake, my dear Glaucus," said the philoso- 
pher. " I have conferred with them — they laughed in my 
face when I talked of Pluto and Hades." 

"O ye gods ! " exclaimed the goldsmith, in horror; "are 
there any of these wretches in Pompeii ? " 

" I know there are a few : but they meet so privately 
that it is impossible to discover who they are." 

As Glaucus turned away, a sculptor, who was a great 
enthusiast in his art, looked after him admiringly. 

"Ah!" said he, "if we could get him on the arena- 
there would be a model for you ! What limbs ! what a 
head ! he ought to have been a gladiator ! A subject — a 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 75 

subject — worthy of our art ! Why don't they give him to 
the lion?" 

Meanwhile Fulvius, the Roman poet, whom his contem- 
poraries declared immortal, and who, but for this history, 
would never have been heard of in onr neglectful age, 
came eagerly np to Glaucus. "Oh, my Athenian, my 
Glaucus, yon have come to hear my ode ! That is indeed 
an honour ; yon, a Greek — to whom the very language of 
common life is poetry. How I thank you. It is but a 
trifle ; but if I secure your approbation, perhaps I may get 
an introduction to Titus. Oh, Glaucus ! a poet without a 
patron is an amphora without a label ; the wine may be 
good, but nobody will laud it ! And what says Pythagoras ? 
— * Frankincense to the gods, but praise to man.' A patron, 
then, is the poet's priest : he procures him the incense, and 
obtains him his believers." 

" But all Pompeii is your patron, and every portico an 
altar in your praise." 

" Ah ! the poor Pompeians are very civil — they love to 
honour merit. But they are only the inhabitants of a petty 
town — fpero meliora I Shall we within ? " 

Ai Certainly ; we lose time till we hear your poem." 

At this instant there was a rush of some twenty persons 
from the baths into the portico ; and a slave stationed at 
the door of a small corridor now admitted the poet, Glaucus, 
Clodius, and a troop of the bard's other friends, into the 



'A poor place this, compared with the Roman therm®! " 
said Lepidus, disdainfully. 

" Yet is there some taste in the ceiling," said Glaucus, 
who was in a mood to be pleased with everything ; pointing 
to the stars which studded the roof. 

Lepidus shrugged his shoulders, but was too languid to 
reply. 

They now entered a somewhat spacious chamber, which 
served for the purposes of the apoditerium (that is, a place 
where the bathers prepared themselves for their luxurious 
ablutions). The vaulted ceiling was raised from a cornice, 
glowingly coloured with motley and grotesque paintings ; 
the ceiling itself was panelled in white compartments 
bordered with rich crimson; the unsullied and shining 
floor was paved with white mosaics, and along the walls 
were ranged benches for the accommodation of the loiterers. 



76 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

TAs chamber did n:-t possess the numerous and a pacawg 
windows which Yitr^vius attributes to his more magnifi- 
cent fr^r'-l-'r'"::. The Pompeians. as all the southern 
Italians, were f :nd or banishing the light of their saftry 
skies, and combine*.! in their voluptuous associations the 
idea of lnxnry with darkness. Two windows of gfaas* 
alone admitted the soft and shaded raj ; and the compart- 
ment in which one of these casements was placed was 
adorned with a large relief of the destruction of tha 
Titans. 

In this apartment Fnlvins seated himself with a magis- 
terial air. and his audience gathering round him. encoaraged 
him to commence his recital. 

The poet did not req:*. ire mnch pressing. He drew forth 
from his vest a roll Gf papvrns. and after hemming three 
times, as mnch to command silence as to clear his io i m, 
he began that wonderf nl ode. of which, to the great morti- 
fication of the author of this history, no single verse can be 
discovered- 

By the plaudits he received, it was doubtless worthy of 
his fame : and Glancns was the onlv listener who did iw4 
find it excel the best odes of Horace. 

The poem concluded, those who took only the cold bath 
began to undress : thev suspended their garments on hooks 
fastened in the wall, and receiving, according to their con- 
dition, either from their own slaves or those of the thermae 
loose robes in exchange, withdrew into that graceful and 
circular building which yet exists, to shame the imlavrng 
posterity of the south, 

The more luxurious dorarted bv another door to the 
tepidarium. a place which was heated to a voluptuous 
warmth, partly by a movable £ replace, principally by a 
suspended pavemert. beneath which was conducted the 
caloric of the laconicum. 

Here this portion of the intended bathers, after unrobing 
themselves, remained for some time enjoying the artificial 
warmth of the luxurious air. And this room, as befitted 
its important rank in the long process of ablution, was 
more richly and elaborately decorated than the rest ; the 

* The <£i*coreras st Pompeii have controverted the fattg-estaWHhrf error 
of the antjqaariisy that g&s windows were unknown to the Banana — tht 
of them was not. however, common among the middle and is&raa* 
in their pririte dwellings. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 77 

arched roof was beautifully carved and painted ; the win- 
dows above, of ground glass, admitted bat wandering and 
uncertain rays ; below the massive cornices were rows of 
figures in massive and bold relief ; the walls glowed with 
crimson, the pavement was skilfu^y tessellated in white 
if«iff Here the habituated bathers, men who bathed 
seven times a day, would remain in a state of enervate and 
speechless lassitude, either before or (mostly) after the 
water-bath ; and many of these victims of the pursuit of 
health turned their listless eyes on the new-comers, recog- 
nising their friends with a nod, but dreading the fatigue 
of conversation. 

From this place the party again diverged, according to 
their several fancies, some to the sudatorium, which 
answered the purpose of our vapour-baths, and thence to 
the warm-bath itself ; those more accustomed to exercise, 
and capable of dispensing with so cheap a purchase of 
fatigue, resorted at once to the calidarium, or water-bath. 

In order to complete this sketch, and give to the reader 
an adequate notion of this, the main luxury of the ancients, 
we will accompany Lepidus, who regularly underwent the 
whole process, save only the cold-bath, which had gone 
lately out of fashion. Being then gradually warmed in 
the tepidarinm, which has just been described, the delicate 
steps of the Pompeian elegant were conducted to the suda- 
torium. Here let the reader depict to himself the gradual 
p r o c ess of the vapour-bath, accompanied by an exhalation 
of spicy perfumes. After our bather had undergone this 
operation, he was seized by his slaves, who always awaited 
lnm at the baths, and the dews of heat were removed by a 
kind of scraper, which (by the way) a modern traveller 
has gravely declared to be used only to remove the dirt, 
not one particle of which could ever settle on the polished 
akin of the practised bather. Thence, somewhat cooled, 
he passed into the water-bath, over which fresh perfumes 
were profusely scattered, and on emerging from the oppo- 
site part of the room, a cooling shower played over his 
head and form. Then wrapping himself in a light robe, 
he returned once more to the tepidarinm, where he found 
Glancns, who had not encountered the sudatorium ; and 
now, the main delight and extravagance of the bath com- 
hh*"***! Their slaves anointed the bathers from vials of 
gold, of alabaster, or of crystal, studded with profusest 



78 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

gems, and containing the rarest unguents gathered from 
all quarters of the world. The number of these smegmata 
used by the wealthy would fill a modern volume — especially 
if the volume were printed by a fashionable publisher; 
Amoracmum, Megalium, Nardtim — omne quod exit in um: 
— while soft music played in an adjacent chamber, and 
such as used the bath in moderation, refreshed and restored 
by the grateful ceremony, conversed with all the zest and 
freshness of rejuvenated life. 

" Blessed be he who invented baths ! " said Glaucus, 
stretching himself along one of those bronze seats (then 
covered with soft cushions) which the visitor to Pompeii 
sees at this day in that same tepidarium. " Whether lie 
were Hercules or Bacchus, he deserved deification." 

" But tell me," said a corpulent citizen, who was groan- 
ing and wheezing under the operation of being rubbed 
down, " tell me, Glaucus ! — evil chance to thy hands, 
slave ! why so rough ? — tell me — ugh — ugh ! — are the baths 
at Borne really so magnificent ? " Glaucus turned, and 
recognised Diomed, though not without some difficulty, so 
red and so inflamed were the good man's cheeks by the 
sudatory and the scraping he had so lately undergone. " I 
fancy they must be a great deal finer than these. Eh ? " 
Suppressing a smile, Glaucus replied — 

" Imagine all Pompeii converted into baths, and you will 
then form a notion of the size of the imperial therm® of 
Rome. But a notion of the size only. Imagine every 
entertainment for mind and body — enumerate all the 
gymnastic games our fathers invented — repeat all the books 
Italy and Greece have produced — suppose places for all 
these games, admirers for all these works— add to this, 
baths of the vastest size, the most complicated construction 
— intersperse the whole with gardens, with theatres, with 
porticos, with schools — suppose, in one word, a city of the 
gods, composed but of palaces and public edifices, and yon 
may form some faint idea of the glories of the great baths 
of feome." 

" By Hercules ! " said Diomed, opening his eyes, " why, 
it would take a man's whole life to bathe ! " 

"At Borne, it often does so," replied Glaucus, gravely. 
" There are many who live only at the baths. They repair 
there the first hour in which the doors are opened, and 
remain till that in which the doors are closed. They seem 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 76 

as if they knew nothing of the rest of Borne, as if they 
despised all other existence." 

" By Pollux ! you amaze me." 

" Even those who bathe only thrice a day contrive to 
consume their lives in this occupation. They take their 
exercise in the tennis-court or the porticos, to prepare them 
for the first bath ; they lounge into the theatre, to refresh 
themselves after it. They take their prandium under the 
trees, and think over their second bath. By the time it is 
prepared, the prandium is digested. From the second bath 
they stroll into one of the peristyles, to hear some new poet 
recite ; or into the library, to sleep over an old one. Then 
eomes the supper, which they still consider but a part of 
the bath ; and then a third time they bathe again, as the 
best place to converse with their friends." 

" Per Hercle ! but we have their imitators at Pompeii." 

" Yes, and without their excuse. The magnificent volup- 
tuaries of the Roman baths are happy ; they see nothing 
but gorgeousness and splendour ; they visit not the squalid 
parts of the city ; they know not that there is poverty in 
the world. All Nature smiles for them, and her only 
frown is the last one which sends them to bathe in 
Cocytus. Believe me, they are your only true philoso- 
phers." 

While GUaucus was thus conversing, Lepidus, with 
closed eyes and scarce perceptible breath, was undergoing 
all the mystic operations, not one of which he ever suffered 
his attendants to omit. After the perfumes and the 
unguents, they scattered over him the luxurious powder 
which prevented any further accession of heat : and this 
being rubbed away by the smooth surface of the pumice, 
he began to indue, not the garments he had put off, but 
those more festive ones termed " the synthesis," with which 
the Romans marked their respect for the coming ceremony 
of supper, if rather, from its hour (three o'clock in our 
measurement of time), it might not be more fitly denomi- 
nated dinner. This done, he at length opened his eyes and 
gave signs of returning life. 

At the same time, too, Sallust betokened by a long yawn 
the evidence of existence. 

*' It is supper time," said the epicure ; " you, Olaucus 
and Lepidus, come and sup with me." 

" Recollect you are all three engaged to my house next 



80 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPETL 

week,* 9 cried Diomed, who wis mightily proud off tie 

acquaintance of men of fashion. 

"Ah, ah! we recollect," said SeHust: "the seat of 
mc-mcry, my Diomed, is certainly in the stomach-** 

Passing now once again into the cooler air, and so into 
the street, our gallants of that daj concluded die 
of a Pompeian bath. 



CHAPTER YHI. 



AEBACES COGS HIS DICE WITH FLEA5CEE, AJfD WTXS HD 

GAME. 



The evening darkened over the restless chy as 
took his way to the house of the Egyptian. He avoided 
the more lighted and populous streets ; and as he strode 
onward with his head buried in his bosom, and Ids anas 
folded within his robe, there was something startling in the 
contrast, which his solemn mien and wasted form presented 
to the thoughtless brows and animated air of those who 
occasionally crossed his path. 

At length, however, a man of a more sober and staid 
demeanour, and who had twice passed him with a cuions 
but doubting look, touched him on the shoulder. 

M Apccides ! " said he, and he made a rapid sign with Ins 
hands : it was the sign of the cross. 

u Well, Xazarene," replied the priest, and his face grew 
paler ; " what wouldst thou ? " 

** Xay," returned the stranger, " I would not interrupt 
thy meditations ; but the last time we met, I seemed not to 
be so unwelcome." 

" You are not unwelcome, Olinthns ; but I am sad and 
weary: nor am I able this evening to discuss with yon 
those themes which are most acceptable to you." 

"O backward of heart!" said Olinthns, with bitter 
fervour; u and art thou sad and weary , and wilt thou 
from the very springs that refresh and heal ? " 

"O earth f " cried the young priest, striking his 
passionately, "from what regions shall my eyes open to the 
true Olympus, where thy gods really dwell? Am I to 
believe with this man, that none whom for so many 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEtt. 81 

turies my fathers worshipped have a being or a name ? 
Am I to break down, as something blasphemons and pro- 
fane, the very altars which I have deemed most sacred r or 
am I to think with Arbaces — what ? " 

He paused, and stode rapidly away in the impatience of 
a man who strives to get rid of himself. Bat the Nazarene 
was one of those hardy, vigorous, and enthusiastic men, by 
whom God in all times has worked the revolutions of 
earth, and those, above all, in the establishment and in the 
reformation of His own religion ; — men who were formed 
to convert, because formed to endure. It is men of this 
mould whom nothing discourages, nothing dismays ; in the 
fervour of belief they are inspired and they inspire. Their 
reason first kindles their passion, but the passion is the 
instrument they use; they force themselves into men's 
hearts, while they appear only to appeal to their judgment. 
Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm ; it is the real alle- 
gory of the tale of Orpheus — it moves stones, it charms 
brutes. Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth 
accomplishes no victories without it. 

Olinthus did not then suffer Apeecides thus easily to 
escape him. He overtook and addressed him thus : — 

" I do not wonder, Apescides, that I distress you ; that I 
shake all the elements of your mind : that you are lost in 
doubt ; that you drift here and there in the vast ocean of 
uncertain and benighted thought. I wonder not at this, 
but bear with me a little ; watch and pray, — the darkness 
shall vanish, the storm sleep, and God himself, as He came 
of yore on the seas of Samaria, shall walk over the lulled 
billows, to the delivery of your soul. Ours is a religion 
jealous in its demands, but how infinitely prodigal in its 
gifts ! It troubles you for an hour, it repays you by im- 
mortality." 

"Such promises," said Apeecides, sullenly, "are the 
tricks by which man is over gulled. Oh, glorious were the 
promises which led me to the shrine of Isis ! " 

"But," answered the Nazarene, "ask thy reason, can 
that religion be sound which outrages all morality ? You 
are told to worship your gods. What are those gods, even 
according to yourselves ? What their actions, what their 
attributes ? Are they not all represented to you as the 
blackest of criminals ? yet you are asked to servo them as 
the holiest of divinities. Jupiter himself is a parricide and 



82 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

an adulterer. What are the meaner deities but imitators 
of his vices ? You are told not to murder, but you worship 
murderers ; you arc told not to commit adultery, and you 
make your prayers to an adulterer. Oh ! what is this but 
a mockery of the holiest part of man's nature, which is 
faith? Turn now to the God, the one, the true God, to 
whose shrine I would lead you. If He seem to you too 
sublime, too shadowy, for those human associations, those 
touching connections between Creator and creature, to 
which the weak heart clings — contemplate Him in his 
Son, who put on mortality like ourselves. His mortality is 
not indeed declared, like that of your fabled gods, by the 
vices of our nature, but by the practice of all its virtues. 
In Him are united the austerest morals with the tenderest 
affections. If He were but a mere man, He had been 
worthy to become a god. You honour Socrates — he has 
his sect, his disciples, his schools. But what are the 
doubtful virtues of the Athenian, to the bright, the undis- 
puted, the active, the unceasing, the devoted holiness of 
Christ ? I speak to you now only of His human character. 
He came in that as the pattern of future ages, to show us 
the form of virtue which Plato thirsted to see embodied. 
This was the true sacrifice that He made for man ; but the 
halo that encircled His dying hour not only brightened 
earth, but opened to us the sight of heaven ! You are 
touched — you are moved. God works in your heart. His 
Spirit is with you. Come, resist not the holy impulse ; 
come at once — unhesitatingly. A few of us are now 
assembled to expound the word of God. Come, let me 
guide you to them. You are sad, you are weary. listen, 
then, to the words of God : — * Come to me,' saith He, ' all 
ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ! 
" I cannot now," said Apa?cides ; " another time.' 
" Now — now ! " exclaimed Olinthus, earnestly, and clasp- 
ing him by the arm. 

But Apoecides, yet unprepared for the renunciation of 
that faith — that life, for which he had sacrificed so much, 
and still haunted by the promises of the Egyptian, extri- 
cated himself forcibly from the grasp ; and feeling an effort 
necessary to conquer the irresolution which the eloquence 
of the Christian had begun to effect in his heated and 
feverish mind, he gathered up his robes and fled away 
with a speed that defied pursuit. 



»» 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 83 

Breathless and exhausted, he arrived at last in a remote 
and sequestered part of the city, and the lone house of the 
Egyptian stood before him. As he paused to recover him- 
self, the moon emerged from a silver cloud, and shone full 
upon the walls of that mysterious habitation. 

No other house was near — the darksome vines clustered 
far and wide in front of the building, and behind it rose a 
copse of lofty forest trees, sleeping in the melancholy 
moonlight ; beyond stretched the dim outline of the dis- 
tant hills, and amongst them the quiet crest of Vesuvius, 
not then so lofty as the traveller beholds it now. 

Ap&cides passed through the arching vines, and arrived 
at the broad and spacious portico. Before it, on either side 
of the steps, reposed the image of the Egyptian sphinx, 
and the moonlight gave an additional and yet more solemn 
calm to those large, and harmonious, and passionless fea- 
tures, in which the sculptors of that type of wisdom united 
so much of loveliness with awe ; half way up the extremi- 
ties of the steps darkened the green and massive foliage of 
the aloe, and the shadow of the eastern palm cast its long 
and unwaving boughs partially over the marble surface of 
the stairs. 

Something there was in the stillness of the place, and 
the strange aspect of the sculptured sphinxes, which 
thrilled the blood of the priest with a nameless and ghostly 
fear, and he longed even for an echo to his noiseless steps 
sb he ascended to the threshold. 

He knocked at the door, over which was wrought an 
inscription in characters unfamiliar to his eyes ; it opened 
without a sound, and a tall Ethiopian slave, without ques- 
tion or salutation, motioned to him to proceed. 

The wide hall was lighted by lofty candelabra of 
elaborate bronze, and round the walls were wrought vast 
hieroglyphics, in dark and solemn colours, which contrasted 
strangely with the bright hues and graceful shapes with 
which the inhabitants of Italy decorated their abodes. 
At the extremity of the hall, a slave, whose countenance, 
though not African, was darker by many shades than the 
usual colour of the south, advanced to meet him. 

u I seek Arbaces," said the priest ; but his voice trembled 
even in his own ear. The slave bowed his head in silence, 
and lAfM*i"g Ap&eides to a wing without the hall, conducted 
him up a narrow staircase, and then traversing several 

o2 



84 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

rooms, in which the stern and thoughtful beauty of the 
sphinx still made the chief and most impressive object of 
the priest's notice, Apscides found himself in a dim and 
half-lighted chamber, in the presence of the Egyptian. 

Arbaces was seated before a small table, on which lay 
unfolded several scrolls of papyrus, impressed with the 
same character as that on the threshold of the xnaxiaxom. 
A small tripod stood at a little distance, from the incense in 
which the smoke slowly rose. Near this was a vast globe, 
depicting the signs of heaven ; and upon another table lay 
several instruments, of curious and quaint shape, whose 
uses were unknown to Apaecides. The farther extremity of 
the room was concealed by a curtain, and the oblong 
window in the roof admitted the rays of the moon, ming- 
ling sadly with the single lamp which burned in the 
apartment. 

" Seat yourself, Ap«cides, w said the Egyptian, without 
rising. 

The young man obeyed. 

** You ask me," resumed Arbaces, after a short pause, is 
which he seemed absorbed in thought, — ** Yon ask ine, or 
would do so, the mightiest secrets which the soul of mam 
is fitted to receive ; it is the enigma of life itself that yom 
desire me to solve. Placed like children in the dark, and 
but for a little while, in this dim and confined existence, we 
shape our spectres in the obscurity; our thoughts now 
sink back into ourselves in terror, now wildly plunge 
themselves into the guideless gloom, guessing what it may 
contain; — stretching our helpless hands here and there, 
lest, blindly, we stumble upon some hidden danger ; not 
knowing the limits of our boundary, now feeling them 
suffocate us with compression, now seeing them extend far 
away till they vanish into eternity. In this state all 
wisdom consists necessarily in the solution of two questions 
— ' What are we to believe ? and What are we to reject ? * 
These questions yon desire me to decide ? " 

Apsecides bowed his head in assent. 

" Man must have some belief/ 7 continued the Egyptian, 
in a tone of sadness. " He must fasten his hope to some- 
thing : it is our common nature that yon inherit when, 
aghast and terrified to see that in which you have bees 
taaght to place your faith swept away, yon float over a 
dreary and shoreless sea of incertitude, yoa cry for help 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 85 

70a ask for some plank to cling to, somo land, howovor dim 
and distant, to attain. Well, then, listen. Yon havo not 
forgotten onr conversation of to-day ? " 

" Forgotten ! " 

" I confessed to yon that thoso doitios for whom smoke 
bo many altars were but inventions. I confessed to yon 
that qut rites and ceremonies wcro bat mammories, to 
delude and lure the herd to their proper good. I cxploinod 
to you that from those delusions came the bonds of society, 
the harmony of the world, the power of tho wise ; that 
power is in tho obedience of tho vulgar. Continuo wo then 
these salutary delusions — if man must havo somo belief, 
continue to him that which his fathers havo made dear to 
him, and which custom sanctifies and strengthens. In 
seeking a subtler faith for us, whoso souses arc too spiritual 
for the gross one, let us leave others that support which 
crumbles from ourselves. This is wise — it is bonovolent." 

" Proceed." 

" This being settled," resumed tho Egyptian, " tho old 
landmarks being left uninjured for those whom we are 
about to desert, we gird up our loins and depart to now 
climes of faith. Dismiss at once from your recollection, 
from your thought, all that you have believed before. 
Suppose tho mind a blank, an unwritten scroll, fit to 
receive impressions for tho first time. Look round tho 
world— observe its order — its regularity — its design. Some- 
thing must have created it — the design speaks a designer : 
in that certainty we first touch land. But what is that 
something ? — A god, you cry. Stay — no confused and con- 
fusing names. Of that which created tho world, we know, 
we can know, nothing, save these attributes — power and 
unvarying regularity; — stern, crushing, relentless regu- 
larity — heeding no individual cases — rolling — sweeping — 
burning on ; — no matter what scattered hearts, severed from 
the general mass, fall ground and scorched beneath its 
wheels. The mixture of evil with good — the existence of 
suffering and of crime — in all times have pcrplexod tho 
wise. They created a god — they supposed him bene vol on t. 
How then came this evil ? why did ho permit — nay, why 
invent, why perpetuate it? To account for this, tho 
Persian creates a second spirit, whose nature is evil, and 
supposes a continual war between that and the god of 
good. In our own shadowy and tromendous Typhon, the 



S6 THE LAST BATS OF POMPEII. 



image a similar demon. Perplexing hhrnder 
that jet more bewilders us f — folly that arose from, the ran 
delusion that makes a palpable, a corporeal, a human being, 
of this unknown power — that clothes the Invisible with, 
attributes and a nature similar to the Seen. No : to» this 
designer let us give a name that does not command our 
bewildering associations, and the mystery becomes move 
clear — that name is Necessity. Necessity, say the Greeks* 
compels the gods. Then why the gods? — -their agency 
becomes unnecessary — dismiss them as once. Necessity is 
the ruler of all we see ; — power, regularity — these two 
qualities make its nature. Would you ask more ? — yon. 
can learn nothing : whether it be eternal — whether it com- 
pel us, its cr creatures, to new careers after that darkness 
which we call death — we cannot telL There leave we this 
ancient, unseen, unfathomable power, and come to thai 
which, to our eyes, is the great minister of its functions* 
This we can task more, from this we can learn more : its 
evidence is around us — its name is Natcr*. The error of 
the sages has been to direct their researches to the attri- 
butes of necessity, where all is gloom and blindness.. Had 
they confined their researches to Nature — what of know- 
ledge might we not already have achieved ? Here patience, 
examination, are never directed in vain. We see what we 
explore; our minds ascend a palpable ladder of causes 
and effects. Nature is the great agent of the external 
universe, and Necessity imposes upon it the laws by which 
it acts, and imparts to us the powers by which we examine; 
those powers are curiosity and memory — their union is 
reason, their perfection is wisdom. Well, then, I «rwrifm» 
by the help of these powers this inexhaustible Nature. I 
examine the earth, the air, the ocean, the heaven: I find. 
that all have a mystic sympathy with each other — that the 
moon sways the tides — that the air main tarns the earthy 
and is the medium of the life and sense of things — that by 
the knowledge of the stars we measure the limits of the 
earth — that we portion oat the epochs of time — that by 
their pale light we are guided into the abyss of the past — 
that in their solemn lore we discern the destinies of the 
future. And thus, while we know not that which Neces- 
sity is, we learn, at least, her decrees. And now, what 
morality do we glean from this religion ? — for religion it is* 
I believe in two deities. Nature and Necessity ; I worship 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. . 87 

the last by reverence, the first by investigation. What is 
the morality my religion teaches? This — all things are 
subject but to general roles ; the sun shines for the joy of 
the many — it may bring sorrow to the few ; the night sheds 
sleep on the multitude — but it harbours murder as well as 
rest ; the forests adorn the earth — but shelter the serpent 
and the lion ; the ocean supports a thousand barks — but it 
engulfs the one. It is only thus for tho general, and not 
for the universal benefit, that Nature acts, and Necessity 
speeds on her awful course. This is tho morality of the 
cfiread agents of the world — it is mine, who am their 
creature. I would preserve the delusions of priestcraft, for 
they are serviceable to the multitude ; I would impart to 
man the arts I discover, the sciences I perfect ; I would 
speed the vast career of civilising lore : — in this I serve the 
mass, I fulfil the general law, I execute the great moral that 
Nature preaches. For myself I claim the individual excep- 
tion ; I claim it for the wise — satisfied that my individual 
actions are nothing in the great balance of good and evil ; 
satisfied that the product of my knowledge can give greater 
blessings to the mass than my desires can operate evil on 
the few (for the first can extend to remotest regions and 
humanise nations yet unborn), I give to the world wisdom, 
to myself freedom. I enlighten the lives of others, and 
I enjoy my own. Yes ; our wisdom is etornal, but our life 
is short : make the most of it while it lasts. Surrender thy 
youth to pleasure, and thy senses to delight. Soon comes 
the hour when the wine-cup is shattered, and the garlands 
shall cease to bloom. Enjoy while you may. Bo still, O 
Apsecides, my pupil and my follower ! I will teach theo the 
mechanism of Nature, her darkest and her wildest secrets 
— the lore which fools call magic — and the mighty mys- 
teries of the stars. , By this shalt thou discharge thy duty 
to the mass ; by this shalt thou enlighten thy race. But I 
will lead thee also to pleasures of which the vulgar do not 
dream ; and the day which thou givest to men shall bo 
followed by tho sweet night which thou surrenderest to 
thyself." 

As the Egyptian ceased there roso about, around, be- 
neath, the softest music that Lydia ever taught, or Ionia 
ever perfected. It came like a stream of sound, bathing 
the senses unawares ; enervating, subduing with delight. 
It seemed the melodies of invisible spirits, such as the 



88 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

shepherd might have heard in the golden age, floating 
through the vales of Thcssaly, or in the noontide glades of 
Paphos. The words which had rushed to the lip of 
Apcecides, in answer to the sophistries of the Egyptian, 
died tremblingly away. He felt it as a profanation to 
break upon tliat enchanted strain — the susceptibility of his 
excited nature, the Greek softness and ardour of his secret 
soul, were swayed and captured by surprise. He sank on 
the seat with parted lips and thirsting ear; while in a 
chorus of voices, bland and melting as those which waked 
Psycho in the halls of love, rose the following song : — 

THE HYMN OF EliOS. 

11 By the cool banks where soft Cephisus flows, 

A voice sail'd trembling down the waves of air ; 
The leaves blushed brighter in the Teian's rose, 
The doves couch' d breathless in their summer lair; 

While from their hands the purple flowerets fell, 
The laughing Hours stood listening in the sky ; — 

From Pan s green cave to JE^le's * haunted cell, 
Heaved the charm' d earth in one delicious sigh. 

• Love, sons of earth ! I am the Power of Love ! 

Eldest of all the gods, with Chaos f born ; 
lily smile sheds light along the courts above, 
My kisses wake the eyelids of the Morn. 

4 Mine are the stars — there, ever as ye gaze, 
Ye meet the deep spell of my haunting eyes ; 

Mine is the moon — and, mournful if her rays, 
'Tis that she lingers where her Carian lies. 

* The flowers arc mine— the blushes of the rose, 

The violet-charming Zephyr to the shade ; 
Mine the quick light that in the Maybeam glows, 
And mine the day-dream in the lonely glade. 

' Love, sons of earth — for love is earth's soft lore, 
Look where ye will — earth overflows with me ; 

Learn from the waves that ever kiss the shore, 
And the winds nestling on the heaving sea. 

' All teaches love ! ' — The sweet voice, like a dream, 

Melted in light ; yet still the airs above, 
The waving sedges, and the whispering stream, 

And the green forest rustling, muimur'd ' Love!* •• 

As the voices died away, the Egyptian seized the hand 
of ApoBcides, and led him, wandering, intoxicated, yet half- 
reluctant, across the chamber towards the curtain at the 
far end ; and now, from behind that curtain, there seemed 

• The fairest of the Naiads, t Hesiod. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 89 

to burst a thousand sparkling stars ; the veil itself, hitherto 
dark, was now lighted by*these fires behind into the ten- 
derest blue of heaven. It represented heaven itself — such 
a heaven, as in the nights of June might have shone down 
over the streams of Castaly. Here and there were painted 
rosy and aerial clouds, from which smiled, by the limner's 
art, faces of divinest beauty, and on which reposed the 
shapes of which Phidias and Apelles dreamed. And the 
stars which studded the transparent azure rolled rapidly as 
they shone, while the music, that again woke with a livelier 
and lighter sound, seemed to imitate the melody of tho 
joyous spheres. 

" Oh ! what miracle is this, Arbaces ? " said Apa>cides 
in faltering accents. " After having denied tho gods, art 
thou about to reveal to me " 

" Their pleasures ! " interrupted Arbaces, in a tone so 
different from its usual cold and tranquil harmony that 
Apoecides started, and thought the Egyptian himself trans- 
formed ; and now, as they neared the curtain, a wild — a 
loud — an exulting melody burst from behind its conceal- 
ment. With that sound the veil was rent in twain — it 
parted — it seemed to vanish into air : and a scene, which 
no Sybarite ever more than rivalled, broke upon the dazzled 
gaze of the youthful priest. A vast banquet-room stretched 
beyond, blazing with countless lights, which filled the warm 
air with the scents of frankincense, of jasmine, of violets, 
of myrrh ; all that the most odorous flowers, all that the 
most costly spices could distil, seemed gathered into ono 
ineffable and ambrosial essence: from the light columns 
that sprang upwards to the airy roof, hung draperies of 
white, studded with golden stars. At the extremities of 
the room two fountains cast up a spray, which, catching 
the rays of the roseate light, glittered like countless 
diamonds. In^ the centre of the room as they entered 
there rose slowly from the floor, to the sound of unseen 
minstrelsy, a table spread with all the viands which sense 
ever devoted to fancy, and vases of that lost Myrrhine 
fabric,* bo glowing in its colours, so transparent in its 
material, were crowned with the exotics of the East. The 
couches, to which this table was the centre, were covered 
with tapestries of azure and gold; and from invisible 

• Which, however, was possibly the porcelain of China, — though this is 
a matter which admits of considerable dispute. 



00 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEEL 

tabes in the vaulted roof descended showers of fragrant 
waters, that cooled the deliciots air, and contended with 
the lamps, as if the spirits of wave and fire disputed which 
element conld furnish forth the most delicious odours. 
And now, from behind the snowy draperies, trooped such 
forms as Adonis beheld when he lay on the lap of Venus. 
They came, some with garlands, others with lyres; they 
surrounded the youth, they led his steps to the banquet. 
They flung the chaplets round him in rosy chains. The 
earth — the thought of earth, vanished from his soul. He 
imagined himself in a dream, and suppressed his breath 
lest he should wake too soon ; the senses, to which he had 
never yielded as yet, beat in his burning pulse, and con- 
fused his dizzy and reeling sight. And while thus amazed 
and lost, once again, but in brisk and Bacchic measures, 
rose the magic strain : — 

ANACREONTIC. 

" In the veins of the calix foams and glow! 
The blood of the mantling vine, 
But oh ! in the bowl of Youth there glowi 
A Labium, more divine ! 
Bright, bright. 
As the liquid light, 
Its waves through thine eyelids shine! 

Fill up, fill up, to the sparkling brim, 

The juice of the young Lyaeus ; * 
The grape is the key that we owe to him 
From the gaol of the world to free us. 
Drink, drink ! 
"What need to shrink, 
When the lamps alone can see us ? 

Drink, drink, as I Quaff from thine eyes, 

The wine of a softer tree ; 
Give the smiles to the god of the grape— thy sighs, 
Beloved one, give to me. 
Turn, turn, 
My glances burn, 
And thirst for a look from thee ! " 

As the song ended, a group of three maidens, entwined 
with a chain of starred flowers, and who, while they imi- 
tated, might have shamed the Graces, advanced towards 
him in the gliding measures of the Ionian dance : such as 
the Nereids wreathed in moonlight on the yellow sands of 

* Name of Bacchus, from *v», to unbind, to release. 



THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 91 

the JEtge&n wave — such as Cytherea taught her handmaids 
in the marriage-feast of Pqgche and her son. 

Now approaching, thev wreathed their chaplet round 
his head ; now kneeling, the youngest of the three proffered 
him the bowl, from which the wine of Lesbos foamed and 
sparkled. The youth resisted no more, he grasped the 
intoxicating cup, the blood mantled fiercely through his 
veins. He sank upon the breast of the nymph who sat 
beside him, and turning with swimming eyes to seek for 
Arbaces, whom he had lost in the whirl of his emotions, he 
beheld him seated beneath a canopy at the upper end of 
the table, and gazing upon him with a smile that encour- 
aged him to pleasure. He beheld him, but not as he had 
hitherto seen, with dark and sable garments, with a brood- 
ing and solemn brow: a robe that dazzled the sight, so 
studded was its whitest surface with gold and gems, blazed 
upon his majestic form ; white roses, alternated with the 
emerald and the ruby, and shaped tiara-like, crowned his 
raven locks. He appeared, like Ulysses, to have gained 
the glory of a second youth — his features seemed to have 
exchanged thought for beauty, and he towered amidst the 
loveliness that surrounded him, in all the beaming and 
relaxing benignity of the Olympian god. 

"Drink, feast, love, my pupil!" said he; "blush not 
that thou art passionate and young. That which thou art, 
thou feelest in thy veins: that which thou shalt be, 
survey ! " 

With this he pointed to a recess, and the eyes of Apse- 
cides, following the gesture, beheld on a pedestal, placed 
between the statues of Bacchus and Idalia, the form of a 
skeleton. 

" Start not," resumed the Egyptian ; " that friendly 
guest admonishes us but of the shortness of life. From 
its jaws I hear a voice that summons us to enjoy." 

As he spoke, a group of nymphs surrounded the statue ; 
they laid chaplets on its pedestal, and, while the cups were 
emptied and refilled at that glowing board, they sang the 
f ollowing strain :— 

BACCHIC HYMN8 TO THE IMAGE OF DEATH, 

i. 

" Thou art in the land of the shadowy Host, 
Thou that didst drink and love : 
By the Solemn River, a gliding ghost, 
But thy thought is ours abore ! 



92 THE LAST DAY8 OF POMPEH. 

If memory yet can fly, 

Back to the golden ikr, 
And mourn the pleasure* lost! 
By the ruin'd hall these flowers we lay, 
Where thy soul once held its palace ; 
When the rose to thy scent and sight was gay f 
And the smile was in the chalice, 

And the cithara's silver yoke 

Could bid thy heart rejoice 
When night eclipsed the day." 

Here a new group advancing, turned the tide of the 
music into a quicker and more joyous strain 

ii. 

" Death, death, is the gloomy shore, 

"Where we all sail — 
Soft, at ft, thou gliding oar ; 

Blow soft, sweet gale ! 
Chain with bright wreaths the Hours ; 

Victims if all 
Ever, 'mid song and flowers, 

Victim* should fall!" 

Pausing for a moment, yet quicker and quicker danced 
the silver- footed music : — 

" Since Life's so short, we'll lire to laugh, 
Ah ! wherefore waste a minute ! 



If youth's the cup we yet can auaff, 
lie love the pearl within it! 



A third hand now approached with brimming cups, 
which they poured in libation upon that strange altar ; and 
once more, slow and solemn, rose the changeful melody : — 

ni. 
" Thou art welcome, Guest of gloom, 
From the far and fearful sea! 
When the last rose shed* its bloom. 
Our board shall be spread with thee ! 
All hail, dark Guest! 
Who hath so fair a plea 
Our welcome Guest to be, 
As thou, whose solemn hall 
At last shall feast us all 
In the dim and dismal coast ? 
Long yet be we the Host ! 
And thou, Dead Shadow, thou, 
All joyl«* though thy brow, 

l*hou— but our passing Guest l n 

At this moment, she who sat beside Apocides suddenly 
took up the song : — 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 93 



IV. 

" Happy is yet our doom, 

The earth and the sun are ours! 
And far from the dreary tomh 
8peed the wings of the rosy Hours— 
Swwt is for thee the howl, 

Sweet are thy looks, my lore ; 
I fly to thy tender soul, 
As the bird to its mated dove ! 
Take me, ah, take ! 
Clasp' d to thy guardian breast, 
Soft let me sink to rest : 

But wake me— ah, wake ! 
And tell me with words and sighs, 
But more with thy melting eyes, 

That ray sun is not set — 
That the Torcn is not quench* d at the Urn, 
That we lore, and we breathe, and burn, 
Tell me— thou lov*st me yet " 



94 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



BOOK n. 



CHAPTER L 

▲ FLASH HOUSE IV P0MPE1J, AND THE OEHTLEXEV OF TBI 

CLASSIC KING. 

To one of those part* of Pompeii, which were tenanted 
not by the lords of pleasure, bat by its minions and it* 
victims ; the haunt of gladiators and prize-fighters ; of the 
vicious and the penniless ; of the savage and the obscene; 
the Alsatia of an ancient city — we are now transported. 

It was a large room, that opened at once on the confined 
and crowded lane. Before the threshold was a group of 
men, whose iron and well-strung muscles, whose short and 
Herculean necks, whose hardy and reckless countenances, 
indicated the champions of the arena. On a shelf, without 
the shop, were ranged jars of wine and oil ; and right over 
this was inserted in the wall a coarse painting, which ex- 
hibited gladiators drinking — so ancient and so venerable is 
the custom of signs ! Within the room were placed several 
small tables, arranged somewhat in the modern fashion of 
" boxes/' and round these were seated several knots of men, 
some drinking, some playing at dice, some at that more 
skilful game called " duodecim ttcrif/jtte," which certain of 
the blundering learned have mistaken for chess, though it 
rather, perhaps, resembled backgammon of the two, and 
was usually, though not always, played by the assistance 
of dice. The hour was in the early forenoon, and nothing 
better, perhaps, than that unseasonable time itself denoted 
the habitual indolence of these tavern loungers. Yet, de- 
spite the situation of the house and the character of its 
inmates, it indicated none of that sordid squalor which 
would have characterised a similar haunt in a modern city. 
The gay disposition of all the Pompeians, who sought, at 
least, to gratify the sense even where they neglected the 
mind, was typified by the gaudy colours which decorated 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 95 

the walls, and the shapes, fantastic but not inelegant, in 
which the lamps, the drinking-cnps, the commonest house- 
hold utensils, were wrought. 

" By Pollux ! " said one of the gladiators, as he leaned 
against the wall of the threshold, " the wine thou sellest 
us, old Silenus," — and as he spoke he slapped a portly 
personage on the back, — " is enough to thin the best blood 
in one's veins. " 

The man thus caressingly saluted, and whose bared arms, 
white apron, and keys and napkin tucked carelessly within 
his girdle, indicated him to be the host of the tavern, was 
already passed into the autumn of his years ; but his form 
was still so robust and athletic, that he might have shamed 
even the sinewy shapes beside him, save that the muscles 
had seeded, as it were, into flesh, that the cheeks were 
swelled and bloated, and the increasing stomach threw into 
shade the vast and massive chest which rose above it. 

" None of thy scurrilous blustering^ with me," growled 
the gigantic landlord, in the gentle semi-roar of an insulted 
tiger ; " my wine is good enough for a carcase which shall 
so soon soak the dust of the spoliarium." * 

" Croakest thou thus, old raven ! " returned the gladiator, 
laughing scornfully ; " thou shalt live to hang thyself with 
despite when thou seest me win the palm crown ; and when 
I get the purse at the amphitheatre, as I certainly shall, 
my first vow to Hercules shall be to forswear thee and thy. 
vue potations evermore." 

" Hear to him — hear to this modest Pyrgopolinices ! He 
has certainly served under Bombochides Cluninstaridysar- 
chides/'f cried the host. " Sporus, Niger, Tetraides, he 
declares he shall win the purse from you. Why, by the 
sods ! each of your muscles is strong enough to stifle all 
bob body, or I know nothing of the arena ! " 

" Ha ! " said the gladiator, colouring with rising fury, 
"oar lanista would tell a different story." 

"What story could he tell against me, vain Lydon? " 
■aid Tetraides, frowning. 

u Or me, who have conquered in fifteen fights ? " said 
the gigantic Niger, stalking up to the gladiator. 

• The place to which the killed or mortally wounded were dragged from 
the arena. 

t "Miles Gloriofua," Aet I. ; as much as to lay, in modern phrase, " He 
has sored under Bombestes Furioso." 



96 THE LAST BAYS OP POMPEII. 

" Or mo ? " grunted Sporns, with eyes of fire. 

" Tash ! " said Lydon, folding his arms, and regarding 
his rivals with a reckless air of defiance. " The time of 
trial will soon come ; keep your valour till then." 

" Ay, do," said the surly host ; " and if I press down my 
thumb to save you, may the Fates cut my thread ! " 

" Your rope, you mean," said Lydon, sneeringly : " here 
is a sesterce to buy one." 

The Titan wine-vender seized the hand extended to him, 
and griped it in so stern a vice that the blood spirted from 
the fingers' ends over the garments of the bystanders. 

They set up a savage laugh. 

" I will teach thee, young braggart, to play the Mace 
donian with me ? I am no puny Persian, 1 warrant thee ! 
What, man! have I not fought twenty years in the ring, 
and never lowered my arms once ? And have I not re- 
ceived the rod from the editor's own hand as a sign of 
victory, and as a gi-ace to retirement on my laurels ? And 
am I now to be lectured by a boy ? " So saying, he flung 
the hand from him in scorn. 

Without changing a muscle, but with the same smiling 
face with which he had previously taunted mine host, did 
the gladiator brave the painful grasp he had undergone. 
But no sooner was his hand released, than, crouching for 
one moment as a wild cat crouches, you might see his hair 
bristle on his head and beard, and with a fierce and shrill 
yell he sprang on the throat of the giant, with an impetus 
that threw him, vast and sturdy as he was, from his 
balance ; — and down, with the crash of a falling rock, he 
fell ; — while over him fell also his ferocious foe. 

Our host, perhaps, had had no need of the rope so kindly 
recommended to him by Lydon, had he remained three 
minutes longer in that position. But, summoned to his 
assistance by the noise of his fall, a woman, who had 
hitherto kept in an inner apartment, rushed to the scene of 
battle. This new ally was in herself a match for the 
gladiator ; she was tall, lean, and with arms that could give 
other than soft embraces. In fact, the gentle helpmate of 
Burbo the wine-seller had, like himself, fought in tho 
lists * — nay, under the emperor's eye. Ajid Burbo himself 
— Burbo, the unconquered in the field, according to report, 

* Not only did women sometimes fight in the amphitheatres, bat ereo 
those of noble birth participated in that meek ambition. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. fl? 

now and then yielded the palm to his soft Stratonicc. 
This sweet creature no sooner saw the imminent peril that 
awaited her worse half, than withont other weapons than 
those with which Nature had provided her, she darted 
upon the incumbent gladiator, and, clasping him round the 
waist with her long and snake-like arms, lifted him by a sud- 
den wrench from the body of her husband, leaving only his 
hands still clinging to the throat of his foe. So have wo 
seen a dog snatched by the hind legs from the strife with a 
fallen rival in the arms of some envious groom ; so have we 
seen one half of him high in air — passive and offenceless — 
while the other half, head, teeth, eyes, claws, seemed buried 
and engulfed in the mangled and prostrate enemy. Mean- 
while, the gladiators, lapped, and pampered, and glutted 
upon blood, crowded delightedly round the combatants — 
their nostrils distended— their lips grinning— their eyes 
gloatingly fixed on the bloody throat of the one and the 
indented talons of the other. 

" Habet ! (he has got it !) habet ! " cried they, with a sort 
of yell, rubbing their nervous hands. 

" Non habeo, ye liars ; I have not got it ! " shouted the 
host, as with a mighty effort he wrenched himself from 
those deadly hands, and rose to his feet, breathless, pant- 
ing, lacerated, bloody ; and fronting, with reeling eyes, the 
glaring look and grinning teeth of his baffled foe, now 
struggling (but struggling with disdain) in the gripe of 
the sturdy amazon. 

" Fair play ! " cried the gladiators : " one to one ; " and, 
crowding round Lydon and the woman, they separated our 
pleasing host from his courteous guest. 

But Lydon, feeling ashamed at his present position, and 
endeavouring in vain to shako off the grasp of the virago, 
slipped his hand into his girdle, and drew forth a short 
knife. So menacing was his look, so brightly gleamed the 
blade, that Stratonicc, who was used only to that fashion 
of battle which wo moderns call the pugilistic, started back 
in alarm. 

" O gods ! " cried she, " the ruffian ! — ho has concealed 
weapons ! Is that fair ? Is that like a gentleman and a 
gladiator? No, indeed, I scorn suchf ell ows." With that 
she contemptuously turned her back on the gkdiator, and 
hastened to examine the condition of her husband. 

But he, as much inured to the constitutional exercises 



98 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

as an English bull-dog is to a contest with a more gentle 
antagonist, had already recovered himself. The purple 
hues receded from the crimson surface of his cheek, the 
veins of the forehead retired into their wonted size. He 
shook himself with a complacent grunt, satisfied that he 
was still alive, and then looking at his foe from head to 
foot with an air of more approbation than he had ever 
bestowed upon him before — 

" By Castor ! " said he, " thou art a stronger fellow than 
I took thee for ! I see thou art a man of merit and virtue; 
give me thy hand, my hero ! " 

" Jolly old Burbo ! " cried the gladiators, applauding ; 
" stanch to the backbone. Give him thy hand, Lydon." 

" Oh, to be sure," said the gladiator: " but now I have 
tasted his blood, I long to lap the whole." 

" By Hercules ! " returned the host, quite unmoved, 
" that is the true gladiator feeling. Pollux ! to think what 
good training may make a man ; why, a beast could not be 
fiercer ! " 

" A beast! dullard ! we beat the beasts hollow ! " cried 
Tetraides. 

"Well, well, ,, said Stratonice, who was now employed 
in smoothing her hair and adjusting her dress, " if ye are 
all good friends again, I recommend you to be quiet and 
orderly; for some young noblemen, your patrons and 
backers, have sent to say they will come here to pay you a 
visit : they wish to see you more at their ease than at the 
schools, before they make up their bets on the great fight 
at the amphitheatre. So they always come to my house 
for that purpose : they know we only receive the best 
gladiators in Pompeii — our society is very select — praised 
be the gods ! " 

" Yes," continued Burbo, drinking off a bowl, or rather 
a pail of wine, " a man who has won my laurels can only 
encourage the brave. Lydon, drink, my boy; may you 
have an honourable old age like mine ! " 

" Come here," said Stratonice, drawing her husband to 
her affectionately by the ears, in that caress which Tibullus 
has so prettily described — " Come here ! " 
• " Not so hard, she- wolf ! thou art worse than the gladia- 
tor," murmured the huge jaws of Burbo. 

" Hist ! " said she, whispering him ; " Calenus has just 



THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEII. 99 

stole in, disguised, by the back way. I hope he has 
brought the sesterces." 

" Ho ! ho ! I will join him," said Burbo ; " meanwhile, I 
say, keep a sharp eye on the cups — attend to the score. 
Let them not cheat thee, wife ; they are heroes, to be sure, 
but then they are arrant rogues : Cacus was nothing to 
them." 

" Never fear me, fool ! " was the conjugal reply ; and 
Burbo, satisfied with the dear assurance, strode through 
the apartment, and sought the penetralia of his house. 

" So those soft patrons are coming to look at our 
muscles," said Niger. " Who sent to previse thee of it, my 
mistress ? " 

"Lepidus. He brings with him Clodius, the surest 
better in Pompeii, and the young Greek, Glaucus." 

" A wager on a wager," cried Tetraides ; " Clodius bets 
on me, for twenty sesterces ! What say you, Lydon ? " 

" He bets on me ! " said Lydon. 

" No, on me I " grunted Sporus. 

" Dolts ! do you think he would prefer any of you to 
Niger ? " said the athletic, thus modestly naming himself. 

" Well, well," said Stratonice, as she pierced a hugh am- 
phora for her guests, who had now seated themselves 
before one of the tables, " great men and brave, as ye all 
think yourselves, which of you will fight the Numidian 
lion in case no malefactor should be found to deprive you 
of the option P " 

" I wno have escaped your arms, stout Stratonice," said 
Lydon, "might safely, I think, encounter the lion." 

"But tell me," said Tetraides, "where is that pretty 
young slave of yours — the blind girl, with bright eyes ? I 
have not seen her a long time." 

" Oh ! she is too delicate for you, my son of Neptune," * 
said the hostess, " and too nice even for us, I think. We 
send her into the town to sell flowers and sing to the 
ladies : she makes us more money so than she would by 
waiting on you. Besides, she has often other employments 
which lie under the rose." 

" Other employments ! " said Niger ; " why, she is too 
young for them." 

•* Silence, beast ! M said Stratonice ; " you think there is 

• Bon of Neptune— a Latin phrase for a boisterous, ferocious fellow. 

H 2 



100 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

no play but the Corinthian. If Nydia were twice the age 
she is at present, she would be equally fit for Vesta — poor 
girl ! " 

"But, hark ye, Stratonice," said Lydon; "how didst 
thou come by so gentle and delicate a slave ? She were 
more meet for the handmaid of some rich matron of Borne 
than for thee." 

" That is true," returned Stratonice ; " and some day or 
other I shall make my fortune by selling her. How came 
I by Nydia, thou askest ? " 

"Ay!" 

" Why, thou seest, my slave Staphyla — thou romemberest 
Staphyla, Niger ? " 

" Ay, a large-handed wench, with a face like a comic 
mask. How should I forget her, by Pluto, whose hand- 
maid she doubtless is at this moment ! " 

" Tush, brute ! — Well, Staphyla died one day, and ft 
great loss she was to me, and I went into the market to 
buy me another slave. But, by the gods ! they were all 
grown so dear since I had bought poor Staphyla, and 
money was so scarce, that I was about to leave the place 
in despair, when a merchant plucked me by the robe. 
4 Mistress,' said he, ' dost thou want a slave cheap ? I 
have a child to sell — a bargain. She is but little, and 
almost an infant, it is true ; but she is quick and quiet, 
docile and clever, sings well, and is of good blood, I assure 
you.' * Of what country ? ' said I. * Thessalian.' Now I 
knew the Thcssalians were acute and gentle ; so I said I 
would see the girl. I found her just as you. see her now, 
scarcely smaller and scarcely younger in appearance. She 
looked patient and resigned enough, with her hands 
crossed on her bosom, and her eyes down-cast. I asked 
the merchant his price : it was moderate, and I bought her 
at once. The merchant brought her to my house, and dis- 
appeared in an instant. Well, my friends, guess my 
astonishment when I found she was blind ! Ha ! ha ! a 
clever fellow that merchant ! I ran at once to the magis- 
trates, but the rogue was already gone from Pompeii. So 
I was forced to go home in a very ill humour, I assure 
you ; and the poor girl felt the effects of it too. But it was 
not her fault that she was blind, for she had been so from 
her birth. By degrees, we got reconciled to our purchase. 
True^ she had not the strength of Staphyla, and was of 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 101 

very little use in the house, but she could soon find her 
way about the town, as well as if she had the eyes of 
Argus ; and when one morning she brought us home a 
handful of sesterces, which she said she had got from 
selling some flowers she had gathered in our poor little 
garden, we thought the gods had sent her to us. So from 
that time we let her go out as she likes, filling her basket 
with flowers, which she wreathes into garlands after the 
Thessalian fashion, which pleases the gallants; and the 
great people seem to take a fancy to her, for they always 
pay her more than they do any other flower-girl, and she 
brings all of it home to us, which is more than any other 
slave would do. So I work for myself, but I shall soon 
afford from her earnings to buy me a second Staphyla ; 
doubtless, the Thessalian kidnapper had stolen the blind 
girl from gentle parents.* Besides her skill in the gar- 
lands, she sings and play on the cithara, which also brings 
money, and lately but that is a secret." 

"That is a secret! What!" cried Lydon, "art thou 
turned sphinx ? " 

" Sphinx, no ! — why sphinx ? " 

" Cease thy gabble, good mistress, and bring us our meat 
— I am hungry," said Sporus, impatiently. 

" And I, too," echoed the grim Niger, whetting his knife 
on the palm of his hand. 

The amazon stalked away to the kitchen, and soon 
returned with a tray laden with large pieces of meat half- 
raw : for so, as now, did the heroes of the prize-fight ima- 
gine they best sustained their hardihood and ferocity ; they 
drew round the table with the eyes of famished wolves — 
the meat vanished, the wine flowed. So leave we those 
important personages of classic life to follow the steps of 
Burbo. 

• The Thessalian slave-merchants were celebrated for purloining persons 
of birth and education ; they did not always spare those of their own coun- 
try. Aristophanes sneers bitterly at that people (proverbially treacherous), 
for their unquenchable desire of gain by this barter of flesh. 



r« 



102 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



CHAPTER II. 

TWO WORTHIES. 

In the earlier times of Homo tho priesthood was a profes- 
sion, not of lucre but of honour. It was ombraced by the 
noblest citizens — it was forbidden to the pleboians. After- 
wards, and long provious to tho present date, it was equally 
open to all ranks ; at least, that part of tho profession 
which embraced the flamons, or priosts, — not of religion 
generally, but of peculiar gods. Even tho priest of Jupiter 
(tho Flamen Dialis), preceded by a lictor, and entitled by 
his oflicc to the entrance of the senate, at first tho especial 
dignitary of tho patricians, was subsequently tho choice of 
tho people. The less national and less honoured deities 
were usually served by plebeian ministers ; and many em- 
braced the profession, as now tho Roman Catholic Christians 
enter tho monastic fraternity, less from tho irnpnlse of 
devotion than tho suggestions of a calculating poverty. 
Thus Calonus, the priest of Isis, was of tho lowest origin. 
His relations, though not his parents, wore frccdmon. He 
had received from them a liberal education, and from his 
father a small patrimony, which ho had soon exhausted. 
Ho embraced tho priesthood as a last resource from dis- 
tress. Whatever the state emoluments of the sacred pro- 
fession, which at that time were probably small, tho officers 
of a popular temple could never complain of the profits of 
their calling. There is no profession so lucrative as that 
which practises on tho superstition of tho multitude 

Calenus had but ono surviving relative at Pompeii, and 
that was Burbo. Various dark and disreputable ties, 
stronger tlian those of blood, united together their hearts 
and interests ; and often the minister of Isis stole disguised 
and furtively from tho supposed austerity of his devotions ; 
— and gliding through the back door of tho retired 
gladiator, a man infamous alike by vices and by profession, 
rejoiced to throw off tho last rag of an hypocrisy which, 
but for the dictates of avarice, his ruling passion, would at 
all times have sat clumsily upon a nature too brutal for 
even tho mimicry of virtue 

Wrapped in ono of those largo mantles which came in 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 103 

use among the Romans in proportion as they dismissed the 
toga, whose ample folds well concealed the form, and in 
which a sort of hood (attached to it) afforded no less a 
security to the features, Calenns now sat in the small and 
private chamber of the wine-cellar, whence a small passage 
ran at once to that back entrance, with which nearly all 
the houses of Pompeii were furnished. 

Opposite to him sat the sturdy Burbo, carefully counting 
on a table between them a little pile of coins which the 
priest had just poured from his purse — for purses were as 
common then as now, with this difference — they were 
usually better furnished ! 

" You see," said Calenus, " that we pay you hand- 
somely, and you ought to thank me for recommending you 
to so advantageous a market." 

" I do, my cousin, I do," replied Burbo, affectionately, 
as he swept the coins into a leathern receptacle, which he 
then deposited in his girdle, drawing the buckle round his 
capacious waist more closely than he was wont to do in the 
lax hours of his domestic avocations. " And by Isis, Pisis, 
and Nisis, or whatever other gods there may be in Egypt, 
lny little Nydia is a very Hesperides — a garden of gold to 
me. 

" She sings well, and plays like a muse," returned 
Calenus; "those are virtues that he who employs me 
always pays liberally." 

" He is a god," cried Burbo, enthusiastically ; " every 
rich man who is generous deserves to bo worshipped. 
But come, a cup of wine, old friend : tell me more about it. 
What does she do ? she is frightened, talks of her oath, 
and reveals nothing." 

" Nor will I, by my right hand ! I, too, have taken that 
terrible oath of secrecy." 

" Oath ! what are o^.ths to men like us ? " 

" True oaths of a common fashion ; but this ! " — and 
the stalwart priest shuddered as he spoke. " Yet," he con- 
tinued, in emptying a huge cup of unmixed wine, " I will 
own to thee, that it is not so much the oath that I dread as 
the vengeance of him who proposed it. By the gods ! he 
is a mighty sorcerer, and could draw my confession from 
the moon, did I dare to make it to her. Talk no more of 
this. By Pollux ! wild as those banquets are which I 
enjoy with him, I am never quite at my ease there. I 



104 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

love, my boy, one jolly hour with thee, and one of the plain, 
unsophisticated, laughing girls that I meet in this chamber, 
all smoke-dried thongh it be, better than whole nights of 
those magnificent debauches." 

" Ho ! sayest thou so ! To-morrow night, please the 
gods, we will have then a snng carousal." 

" With all my heart," said the priest, rubbing his hands, 
and drawing himself nearer to the table. 

At this moment they heard a slight noise at the door, as 
of one feeling the handle. The priest lowered the hood 
over his head. 

" Tush ! " whispered the host, " it is but the blind girl," 
as Nydia opened the door, and entered the apartment. 

" Ho ! girl, and how durst thou ? thou lookest pale, — 
thou hast kept late revels ? No matter, the young must 
be always the young," said Burbo, encouragingly. 

The girl made no answer, but she dropped, on one of the 
seats with an air of lassitude. Her colour went and came 
rapidly : she beat the floor impatiently with her small feet, 
then she suddenly raised her face, and said with a deter- 
mined voice, — 

" Master, you may starve me if you will, — you may beat 
me, — you may threaten me with death, — but I will go no 
more to that unholy place ! " 

" How, fool ! said Burbo, in a savage voice, and his 
heavy brows met darkly over his fierce and bloodshot eyes ; 
" how, rebellious ! Take care." 

" I have said it," said the poor girl, crossing her hands 
on her breast. 

" What ! my modest one, sweet vestal, thou wilt go no 
more ! Very well, thou shalt be carried." 

" I will raise the city with my cries," said she, pas- 
sionately ; and the colour mounted to her brow. 

" We will take care of that too ; thou shalt go gagged." 

" Then may the gods help me ! " said Nydia, rising ; " I 
will appeal to the magistrates." 

" Thine oath remember ! " said a hollow voice, as for the 
first time Calenus joined in the dialogue. 

At these words a trembling shook ' the frame of the 
unfortunate girl ; she clasped her hands imploringly. 
" Wretch that I am ! " she cried, and burst violently into 
£cbs. 

Whether or not it was the sound of that vehement 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEtT. 105 

Borrow which brought tho gontlo Stratonico to tho spot, 
her grisly form at this moment appeared in the chamber. 

"How nowP what hast thou been doing with my 
slave, bruto P " said sho, angrily, to Burbo. 

" Bo quiet, wife," said he, in a tone half-sullen, half- 
timid ; "you want new girdles and fino clothos, do you ? " 
Well then, take care of your slave, or you may want them 
lmg. V(e capiti tuo — vengeance on thy head, wretched 
one ! " 

" What is this P " said tho hag, looking from one to tho 
other. 

Nydia startod as by a suddon impulso from the wall 
against which sho had leaned ; sho threw herself at tho 
feet of Stratonice ; sho ombracod her knees, and looking 
up at her with thoso sightless but touching eyes — 

" my mistress ! " sobbed she, " you are a woman — you 
have had sistors, — you have been young liko mo, — feel 
for me, — save mo ! I will go to those horrible feasts no 
more ! " 

" Stuff ! " said the hag, dragging her up rudely by one 
of those delicate hands, fit for no harsher labour than that 
of woaving tho flowors which made her pleasure or her 
trade ; — " stuff ! these fino scruples are not for slaves." 

" Hark ye," said Burbo, drawing forth his purse, and 
chinking its contents: "you hear this music, wife; by 
Pollux ! if you do not break in yon colt with a tight rein, 
yon will hear it no moro." 

" The girl is tired," said Stratonice, nodding to 
Calenus ; " she will be more docile when you next want 
her." 

u You I you I who is hero P " cried Nydia, casting her 
eyes round the apartment with so fearful and straining a 
survey, that Calenus rose in alarm from his soat, — 

" She must see with those eyes ! " muttered ho. 

" Who is here ! Spoak, in heaven's namo ! Ah, if you 
were blind like me, you would bo less cruel," said she ; and 
she again burst into tears. 

" Take her away," said Burbo, impationtly ; " I hate 
these whimperings." 

" Come ! said Stratonico, pushing tho poor child by tho 
shoulders. 

Nydia drew herself aside, with an air to which resolution 
gave dignity. 



106 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII, 

" Hear me," she said ; " I have served you. faithfully,— 
I, who was brought up — Ah ! my mother, my poor mother ! 
didsfc thou dream I should como to this ? She dashed 
the tear from her eyes, and proceoded : — " Command me in 
aught else, and I will obey ; but I tell you now, hard, 
stern, inexorablo as you are, — I tell you that I will go there 
no more ; or, if I am forced there, that I will implore the 
mercy of the proctor himself — I have said it. Hear me, ye 
gods, I swear! " 

The hag's eyes glowed with fire ; she seized the child by 
the hair with one hand, and raised on high the other — that 
formidable right hand, the least blow of which seemed 
capable to crush the frail and delicate form that trembled 
in her grasp. That thought itself appeared to strike her, 
for she suspended the blow, changed her purpose, and 
dragging Nydia to the wall, seized from a hook a rope, 
often, alas! applied to a similar purpose, and the next 
moment the shrill, the agonised shrieks of the blind girl 
rang piercingly through the house. 



CHAPTER III. 

GLATTCUS MAKES A PUKCHASE THAT AFTERWARDS COSTS HIM 

DEAR. 

" Holla, my brave fellows ! " said Lepidus, stooping his 
head, as he entered the low doorway of the house of Burbo. 
" Wo have como to see which of you most honours your 
lanista." The gladiators rose from the table in respect to 
three gallants known to be among the gayest and richest 
youths of Pompeii, and whose voices were therefore the 
dispensers of amphithoatrical reputation. 

" What fine animals ! " said Clodius to Glaucus : " worthy 
to be gladiators ! " 

" It is a pity they are not warriors," returned Glaucus. 

A singular thing it was to see the dainty and fastidious 
Lepidus, whom in a banquet a ray of daylight seemed to 
blind, — whom in the bath a breeze of air seemed to blast, — 
in whom Nature seemed twisted and perverted from every 
natural impulse, and curdled into one dubious thing of 
effeminacy and art ; — a singular thing was it to see this 
Lepidus, now all eagerness, and energy, and life, patting 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 107 

the vast shoulders of the gladiators with a blanched and 
girlish hand, feeling with a mincing gripe their great 
brawn and iron muscles, all lost in calculating admiration 
at that manhood which he had spent his life in carefully 
banishing from himself. 

So have we seen at this day the beardless flutterers of 
the saloons of London thronging round the heroes of the 
Fivescourt ; — so have we seen them admire, and gaze, and 
calculate a bet ; — so have we seen them meet together, in 
ludicrous yet in melancholy assemblage, the two extremes 
of civilised society, — the patrons of pleasure and its slaves 
— vilest of all slaves — at once ferocious and mercenary ; 
male prostitutes, who sell their strength as women their 
beauty ; beasts in act, but baser than beasts in motive, for 
the last, at least, do not mangle themselves for money ! 

" Ha ! Niger, how will you fight ? " said Lepidus ; " and 
with whom ? " 

" Sporus challenges me," said the grim giant ; "we shall 
fight to the death, I hope." 

" Ah ! to be sure," grunted Sporus, with a twinkle of 
his small eye. 

"He takes the sword, I the net and the trident: it will 
be rare sport. I hope the survivor will have enough to 
keep up the dignity of the crown." 

"Never fear, we'll fill the purse, my Hector," said 
Clodius : "let me see, — you fight against Niger ? Glaucus, 
a bet — I back Niger." 

" I told you so," cried Niger exultingly. " The noble 
Clodius knows me; count yourself dead already, my 
Sporus." 

Clodius took out his tablet. — "A bet, — ten sestertia.* 
What say you ? " 

" So be it," said Glaucus. " But whom have we here ? 
I never saw this hero before ;" and he glanced at Lydon, 
whose limbs were slighter than those of his companions, 
and who had something of grace, and something even of 
nobleness, in his face, which his profession had not yet 
wholly destroyed. 

" It is Lydon, a youngster, practised only with the 
wooden sword as yet," answered Niger, condescendingly. 
" But he has the true blood in him, and has challenged 
Tetraides." 

* Little more than £30. 



108 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" He challenged me," said Lydon : " I accept the offer." 

" And how do yon fight ? " asked Lepidns. " Chnt, my 
boy, wait a while before yon contend with Tetraides." 
Lydon smiled disdainfully. 

" Is ho a citizen or a slave ? " said Clodins. 

" A citizen ; — we are all citizens here," qnoth Niger. 

" Stretch ont your arm, my Lydon," said Lepidns, with 
the air of a connoisseur. 

Tho gladiator, with a significant glance at his companions, 
extended an arm which, if not so huge in its girth as those 
of his comrades, was so firm in its muscles, so beautifully 
symmetrical in its proportions, that the three visitors 
uttered simultaneously an admiring exclamation. 

" Well, man, what is your weapon ? " said Clodins, 
tablet in hand. 

"We are to fight first with the cestus; afterwards, if 
both survive, with swords," returned Tetraides, sharply, 
and with an envious scowl. 

" With the cestus ! " cried Glaucus ; " there yon are 
wrong, Lydon ; the cestus is the Greek fashion : I know it 
well. You should have encouraged flesh for that contest ; 
you are far too thin for it — avoid the cestus." 

" I cannot," said Lydon. 

"And why?" 

" I have said — because ho has challenged me. 1 

" But he will not hold you to the precise weapon. 1 

" My honour holds me ! " returned Lydon, proudly. 

"I bet on Tetraides, two to one, at the cestus," said 
Clodius ; " shall it be, Lepidus ? — even betting, with 
swords." 

" If you give me three to one, I will not take the odds," 
said Lepidus: "Lydon will never come to the swords. 
You are mighty courteous." 

" What say you, Glaucus ? " said Clodius. 

" I will take the odds three to one." 

" Ten sestertia to thirty." 

"Yes."* 

Clodius wrote the bet in his book. 

" Pardon me, noble sponsor mine," said Lydon, in a low 

* The reader will not confound the sesterf u with the sestertia. A sester- 
tium, which was a sum, not a coin, was a thousand times the value of a 
sester^'ws; the first was equivalent to £8 Is. 5%d. } tho last to Id. 3} farthings 
of our money. 



99 

99 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 109 

voice to Glaucus : " but how much think you the victor 
will gain ? " 

" How much ? why, perhaps seven sestertia." 

" You are sure it will be as much ? " 

"At least. But out on you! — a Greek would have 
thought of the honour, and not the money. O Italians ! 
everywhere ye are Italians ! " 

A blush mantled over the bronzed cheek of the gladiator. 

* Do not wrong me, noble Glaucus ; I think of both, but 
I should never have been a gladiator but for the money. ,, 

" Base ! mayest thou fall ! A miser never was a hero." 

" I am not a miser," said Lydon, haughtily, and he 
withdrew to the other end of the room. 

" But I don't see Burbo ; where is Burbo ? I must talk 
with Burbo," cried Clodius. 

" He is within," said Niger, pointing to the door at the 
extremity of the room. 

"And Stratonice, the brave old lass, where is she?" 
quoth Lepidus. 

" Why, she was here just before you entered ; but she 
heard something that displeased her yonder, and vanished. 
Pollux ! old Burbo had perhaps caught hold of some girl 
in the back room. I heard a female's voice crying out ; 
the old dame is as jealous as Juno." 

" Ho ! excellent ! " cried Lepidus, laughing. " Come, 
Clodius, let us go shares with Jupiter; perhaps he has 
caught a Leda." 

At this moment a loud cry of pain and terror startled 
the group. 

"Oh, spare me ! spare me ! I am but a child, I am blind 
— is not that punishment enough ? " 

" O Pallas ! I know that voice, it is my poor flower- 
girl ! " exclaimed Glaucus, and he darted at' once into the 
quarter whence the cry rose. 

He burst the door; he beheld Nydia writhing in the 
grasp of the infuriate hag ; the cord, already dabbled with 
blood, was raised in the air, — it was suddenly arrested. 

" Fury ! " said Glaucus, and with his left hand he caught 
Nydia from her grasp ; " how dare you use thus a girl, — 
one of your own sex, a child! My Nydia, my poor 
infant ! " 

" Oh ? is that you — is that Glaucus ? " exclaimed the 
flower-girl, in a tone almost of transport ; the tears stood 



110 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

arrested on her cheek ; she smiled, she clung to his breast, 
she kissed his robe as she clung. 

" And how dare you, pert stranger ! interfere between a 
free woman and her slave. By the gods ! despite your fine 
tunic and your filthy perfumes, I doubt whether you are 
even a Roman citizen, my mannikin. ,, 

"Fair words, mistress, — fair words! " said Clodius, now 
entering with Lepidus. " This is my friend and sworn 
brother: he must be put under shelter of your tongue, 
sweet one ; it rains stones ! " 

" Give me my slave ! " shrieked the virago, placing her 
mighty grasp on the breast of the Greek. 

" Not if all your sister Furies could help you," answered 
Glaucus. " Fear not, sweet Lydia; an Athenian never 
forsook distress ! " 

" Holla ! " said Burbo, rising reluctantly, " what turmoil 
is all this about a slave ? Let go the young gentleman, 
wife, — let him go: for his sake the pert thing shall bo 
spared this once." So saying, he drew, or rather dragged 
off, his ferocious helpmate. 

"Methought when we entered," said Clodius, "there 
was another man present ? " 

" He is gone." 

For the priest of Isis had indeed thought it high time to 
vanish. 

" Oh, a friend of mine ! a brother cupman, a quiet dog, 
who does not love these snarlings," said Burbo, carelessly. 
" But go, child, you will tear the gentleman's tunic if you 
cling to him so tight ; go, you are pardoned." 

" Oh, do not — do not forsake me ! " cried Nydia, clinging 
yet closer to the Athenian. 

Moved by her forlorn situation, her appeal to him, her 
own innumerable and touching graces, the Greek seated 
himself on one of the rude chairs. He held her on his 
knees, — he wiped the blood from her shoulders with his 
long hair, — he kissed the tears from her cheeks, — he 
whispered to her a thousand of those soothing words with 
which we calm the grief of a child ; — and so beautiful did 
he seem in his gentle and consoling task, that even the 
fierce heart of Stratonice was touched. His presence 
seemed to shed light over that base and obscene haunt, — 
young, beautiful, glorious, ho was the emblem of all that 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. Ill 

earth made most happy, comforting one that earth had 
abandoned ! 

"Well, who could have thpught our blind Nydia had 
been so honoured ! " said the virago, wiping her heated 
brow. 

Glaucus looked up at Burbo. 

" My good man," said he, " this is your slave ; she sings 
well, she is accustomed to the care of flowers, — I wish to 
make a present of such a slave to a lady. Will you sell 
her to me P " As he spoke he felt the whole frame of the 
poor girl tremble with delight ; she started up, she put her 
dishevelled hair from her eyes, she looked around, as if, 
alas ! she had the power to see ! 

" Sell our Nydia ! no, indeed," said Stratonice, grainy. 

Nydia sank back- with a long sigh, and again clasped tho 
robe of her protector. 

"Nonsense!" said Clodius, imperiously: "you must 
oblige me. What, man ! what, old dame ! offend me, and 
your trade is ruined. Is not Burbo my kinsman Pansa's 
client ? Am I not the oracle of the amphitheatre and its 
heroes ? If I say the word, Break up your wine- jars,— 
you sell no more. Glaucus, the slave is yours." 

Burbo scratched his huge head, in evident embarrass- 
ment. 

" The girl is worth her weight in gold to me." 

" Name your price, I am rich," said Glaucus. 

The ancient Italians were like the modern, there was 
nothing they would not sell, much less a poor blind girl. 

" I paid six sestertia for her, she is worth twelve now," 
muttered Stratonice. 

"You shall have twenty; come to the magistrates at 
once, and then to my house for your money." 

" I would not have sold the dear girl for a hundred but 
. to oblige noble Clodius," said Burbo, whiningly. " And 
you will speak to Pansa about the place of designator at 
the amphitheatre, noble Clodius ? it would just suit me." 

" Thou shalt have it," said Clodius ; adding in a whisper 
to Burbo, " Yon Greek can make your fortune ; money runs 
through him like a sieve : mark to-day with white chalk, 
my Priam." 

"An ddbis?" said Glaucus, in the formal question of 
sale and barter. 

w DabUwr" answered Burbo. 



112 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

" Then, then, I am to go with you, — with yon ? 
happiness ! " murmured Nydia. 

" Pretty one, yes ; and thy hardest task henceforth shall 
be to sing thy Grecian hymns to the loveliest lady in 
Pompeii." 

The girl sprang from his clasp ; a change came over her 
■whole face, so bright the instant before ; she sighed heavily, 
and then once more taking his hand, she said, — 

" I thought I was to go to your house ? " 

" And so thou shalt for the present ; come, we lose 
time." 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE EIVAL OF GLAUCUS PRESSES ONWARD IN THE RACE. 

Ione was one of those brilliant characters which, but 
once or twice, flash across our career. She united in the 
highest perfection the rarest of earthly gifts, — Genius and 
Beauty. No one ever possessed superior intellectual qua- 
lities without knowing them, — the alliteration of modesty 
and merit is pretty enough, but where merit is great, the 
veil of that modesty you admire never disguises its extent 
from its possessor. It is the proud consciousness of cer- 
tain qualities that it cannot reveal to the everyday world, 
that gives to genius that shy, and reserved, and troubled 
ail*, which puzzles and flatters you when you encounter it. • 

lone, then, knew her genius ; but, with that charming 
versatility that belongs of right to women, she had the 
faculty, so few of a kindred genius in the less malleable 
sex can claim — the faculty to bend and model her graceful 
intellect to all whom it encountered. The sparkling foun- 
tain threw its waters alike upon the strand, the cavern, and 
the flowers ; it refreshed, it smiled, it dazzled everywhere. 
That pride, which is the necessary result of superiority, 
she wore easily — in her breast it concentred itself in inde- 
pendence. She pursued thus her own bright and solitary 
path. She asked no aged matron to direct and guide her, 
— she walked alone by the torch of her own unflickering 
purity. She obeyed no tyrannical and absolute custom. 
She moulded custom to her own will, but this so delicately 
and with so feminine a grace, so perfect an exemption 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 113 

from, error, that you could not say she outraged custom 
but ocmmarndtd it. The wealth of her graces was inex- 
haustible — she beautified the commonest action ; a word, a 
look from her, seemed magic. Love her, and yon entered 
into a new world, you passed from this trite and common- 
place earth. Ton were in a land in which your eyes saw 
everything through an enchanted medium. In her pre- 
sence you felt as if listening to exquisite music ; you were 
steeped in that sentiment which has so little of earth in it, 
and which music so well inspires. — that intoxication which 
refines and exalts, which seizes, it is true, the senses, but 
gives them the character of the soul. 

She was peculiarly formed, then, to command and fasci- 
nate the less ordinary and the bolder natures of men ; to 
love her was to unite two passions, that of love and of am- 
bition, — you aspired when yon adored her. It was no 
wonder that she had completely chained and subdued the 
mysterious but burning soul of the Egyptian, a man in 
whom dwelt the fiercest passions. Her beauty and her 
soul alike enthralled him. 

Set apart himself from the common world, he loved that 
daringness of character which also made itself, among 
common things, aloof and alone. He did not, or he would 
not see, that that very isolation put her yet more from him 
than from the vulgar. Far as the poles — far as the night 
from day, his solitude was divided from hers. He was 
solitary from his dark and solemn vices — she from her 
beautiful fancies and her purity of virtue. 

If it was not strange that lone thus enthralled the 
Egyptian, far less strange was it that she had captured, aa 
s irrevocablv, the bright and sunnv heart of the 
The gladness of a temperament which seemed 
from the beams of light had led Glancus into plea- 
He obeved no more vicious dictates when he wan- 
into the dissipations of his time, than the exhilarating 
of youth and health. He threw the brightness of 
nature over every abyss and cavern through which he 
strayed. IBs imagination dazzled him, but his heart never 
aw corrupted. Of far more penetration than his com. 
deemed, he saw that they sought to prey upon his 
and his youth : but he despised wealth save as the 
of enjoyment, and youth was the great sympathy 
that united him to them. He felt, it is true, the impulse 




Ill THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

of nobler thoughts and higher aims than in pleasure could 
l>e indulged : but the world was one vast prison, to which 
the Sovereign of Home was the Imperial gaoler ; and the 
very virtues, which in the free days of Athens would hare 
made hi in ambitious, in the slavery of earth made him in- 
active and supine. For in that unnatural and bloated 
civilisation, all that was noble in emulation was forbidden. 
Ambition in the regions of a despotic and luxurious court 
was but the contest of flattery and craft. Avarice had be- 
come the sole ambition, — men desired pretorships and 
provinces only as the license to pillage, and government 
was but the excuse of rapine. It is in small states that 
glory is most active and pure, — the more confined the 
limits of the circle, the more ardent the patriotism. In 
small states, opinion is concentrated and strong, — every 
eye reads your actions — your public motives are blended 
with your private ties, — every spot in your narrow sphere 
is crowded with forms familiar since your childhood, — the 
applause of your citizens is like the caresses of your 
friends. But in large states, the city is but the court : the 
provinces — unknown to you, unfamiliar in customs, perhaps 
in language, — have no claim on your patriotism, the an- 
cestry of their inhabitants is not yours. In the court you 
desire favour instead of glory; at a distance from the 
court, public opinion has vanished from you, and self-in- 
terest has no counterpoise. 

Italy, Italy, while I write, your skies are over me — your 
seas flow beneath my feet, listen not to the blind policy 
which would unite all your crested cities, mourning for 
their republics, into one empire; false, pernicious delu- 
sion! your only hope of regeneration is in division. 
Florence, Milan, Venice, Genoa, may bo free once more, if 
each is free. But dream not of freedom for the whole 
while you enslave the parts ; the heart must be the centre 
of the system, the blood must circulate freely everywhere ; 
and in vast communities you behold but a bloated 
and feeble giant, whose brain is imbecile, whose limbs 
are dead, and who pays in disease and weakness the 
penalty of transcending the natural proportions of health 
and vigour. 

Thus thrown back upon themselves, the more ardent 
qualities of Glaucus found no vent, save in that overflow* 
ing imagination which gave grace to pleasure, and poetry 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 115 

to thought. Ease was less despicable than contention 
with parasites and slaves-;' and luxury could yet be refined 
though ambition could not be ennobled. But all that was 
best and brightest in his soul woke at once when he knew 
lone. Here was an empire, worthy of demigods to attain ; 
here was a glory, which the reeking smoke of a foul society 
could not soil or dim. Love, in every time, in every state, 
can thus find space for its golden altars. And tell me if 
there ever, even in the ages most favourable to glory, could 
be a triumph more exalted and elating than the conquest 
of one noble heart ? 

And whether it was that this sentiment inspired him, 
his ideas glowed more brightly, his soul seemed more 
awake and more visible, in Ione's presence. If natural to 
love her, it was natural that she should return the passion. 
Young, brilliant, eloquent, enamoured, and Athenian, ho 
was to her as the incarnation of the poetry of her father's 
land. They were not like creatures of a world in which 
strife and sorrow are the elements ; they were like things 
to be seen only in the holiday of nature, so glorious and so 
fresh were their youth, their beauty, and their love. They 
seemed out of place in the harsh and every- day earth; they 
belonged of right to the Saturnian age, and the dreams of 
demigod and nymph. It was as if the poetry of life 
gathered and fed itself in them, and in their hearts were 
concentrated the last rays of the sun of Delos and of 
Greece. 

But if lone was independent in her choice of life, so was 
her modest pride proportionably vigilant and easily alarmed. 
The falsehood of the Egyptian was invented by a deep 
knowledge of her nature. The story of coarseness, of 
indelicacy, in G-laucns, stung her to the quick. She felt it 
a reproach upon her character and her career, a punishment 
above all to her love ; she felt, for the first time, how 
suddenly she had yielded to that love ; she blushed with 
shame at a weakness, the extent of which she was startled 
to perceive : she imagined it was that weakness which had 
incurred the contempt of Glaucus ; she endured the bitterest 
curse of noble natures — humiliation / Yet her love, perhaps, 
was J» less alarmed than her pride. If one moment she 
murmured reproaches upon Glaucus — if one moment she 
renounced, she almost hated him — at the next she burst 
into peorionate taws, her heart yielded to its softness, and 

I 2 



116 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

she said in the bitterness of anguish, " He despises me — ho 
does not love me." 

From the hour the Egyptian had left her she had retired 
to her most secluded chamber, she had shut out her hand- 
maids, she had denied herself to the crowds that besieged 
her door. Glaucus was excluded with the rest; he wondered, 
but he guessed not why ! He never attributed to his lone 
— his queen — his goddess — that woman-like caprice of 
which the love-poets of Italy so unceasingly complain. He 
imagined her, in the majesty of her candour, above all the 
arts that torture. He was troubled, but his hopes were not 
dimmed, for he knew already that he loved and was 
beloved ; what more could he desire as an amulet against 
fear ? 

At deepest night, then, when the streets were hushed, 
and the high moon only beheld his devotions, he stole to 
that temple of his heart— -her home ; * and wooed her after 
the beautiful fashion of his country. He covered her 
threshold with the richest garlands, in which every flower 
was a volume of sweet passion ; and he charmed the long 
summer-night with the sound of the Lycian lute ; and verses, 
which the inspiration of the moment sufficed to weave. 

But the window above opened not ; no smile made yet 
more holy the shining air of night. All was still and dark. 
He knew not if his verse was welcome and his suit was 
heard. 

Yet lone slept not, nor disdained to hear. Those soft 
strains ascended to her chamber ; they soothed, they 
subdued her. While she listened, she believed nothing 
against her lover ; but when they were stilled at last, and 
his step departed, the spell ceased ; and, in the bitterness 
of her soul, she almost conceived in that delicate flattery a 
new affront. 

I said she was denied to all ; but there was one exception, 
there was one person who would not be denied, assuming 
over her actions and her house something like the authority 
of a parent; Arbaces, for himself, claimed an exemption 
from all the ceremonies observed by others. He entered 
the threshold with the license of one who feels that he is 
privileged and at home. He made his way to her solitude 
and with that sort of quiet and unapologetic air which 

* Athcna.us— l - The true temple of Cupid is the house of the beloved one." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 117 

seemed to consider the right as a thing of course. With 
all the independence *6f Ione's character, his heart had 
enabled him to obtain a secret and powerful control over 
her mind. She could not shake it off ; sometimes she 
desired to do so ; but she never actively struggled against 
it. She was fascinated by his serpent eye. He arrested, 
he commanded her, by the magic of a mind long accustomed 
to awe and to subdue. Utterly unaware of his real character 
or his hidden love, she felt for him the reverence which 
genius feels for wisdom, and virtue for sanctity. She 
regarded him as one of those mighty sages of old, who 
attained to the mysteries of knowledge by an exemption 
from the passions of their kind. She scarcely considered 
him as a being, like herself, of the earth, but as an oraclo 
at once dark and sacred. She did not love him, but she 
feared. His presence was unwelcome to her ; it dimmed 
her spirit even in its brightest mood ; he seemed, with his 
chilling and lofty aspect, like some eminence which casts a 
shadow over the sun. But she never thought of forbidding 
his visits. She was passive under the influence which 
created in her breast, not the repugnance, but something 
of the stillness of terror. 

Arbaces himself now resolved to exert all his arts to 
possess himself of that treasure he so burningly coveted. 
He was cheered and elated by his conquests over her brother. 
From the hour in which ApeBcides fell beneath the volup- 
tuous sorcery of that fete which we have described, he felt 
his empire over the young priest triumphant and insured. 
He knew that there is no victim so thoroughly subdued as 
a young and fervent man for the first time delivered to the 
thraldom of the senses. 

When Apcecides recovered, with the morning light, from 
the profound sleep which succeeded to the delirium of 
wonder and of pleasure, he was, it is true, ashamed — 
— terrified — appalled. His vows of austerity and celibacy 
echoed in his ear; his thirst after holiness — had it been 
quenched at so unhallowed a stream ? But Arbaces knew 
well the means by which to confirm his conquest. From 
the arts of pleasure he led the young priest at once to those 
of his mysterious wisdom. He bared to his amazed eyes 
the initiatory secrets of the sombre philosophy of the Nile 
— those secrets plucked from the stars, and the wild che- 
mistry, which, in those days, when Reason herself was but 



118 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

the creature of Imagination, might .well pass for the lore of 
a diviner magic. He seemed to the young eyes of Ae 
priest as a being above mortality, and endowed with super- 
natural gifts. That yearning and intense desire for the 
knowledge which is not of earth — which had burned from 
his boyhood in the heart of the priest — was dazzled, until 
it confused and mastered his clearer sense. He gave him- 
self to the art which thus addressed at once the two 
strongest of human passions, that of pleasure and that of 
knowledge. Hu was loth to believe that one so wise could 
eiT, that one so I jfty could stoop to deceive. Entangled in 
the dark web of metaphysical moralities, he caught at the 
excuse by which the Egyptian converted vice into a virtue. 
His pride was insensibly flattered that Arbaces had deigned 
to rank him with himself, to set him apart from the laws 
which bound the vulgar, to make him an august partici- 
pator, both in the mystic studies and the magic fascinations 
of the Egyptian's solitude. The pure and stern lessons of 
that creed to which Olinthus had sought to make him con- 
vert, were swept away from his memory by the deluge of 
new passions. And the Egyptian, who was versed in the 
articles of that true faith, and who soon learned from his 
pupil the effect which had been produced npon him by its 
believers, sought, not unskilfully, to undo that effect, by a 
tone of reasoning, half- sarcastic and half -earnest. 

" This faith," said he, " is but a borrowed plagiarism 
from one of the many allegories invented by our priests of 
old. Observe," he added, pointing to a hieroglyphical 
scroll, — " observe in these ancient figures the origin of the 
Christian's Trinity. Here are also three gods — the Deity, 
the Spirit, and the Son. Observe, that the epithet of the 
Son is * Saviour,' — observe, that the sign by which his 
human qualities are denoted is the cross.* Note here, too, 
the mystic history of Osiris, how he put on death ; how he 
lay in the grave ; and how, thus fulfilling a solemn atone- 
ment, he rose again from the dead ! In these stories we 
but design to paint an allegory from the operations of 
nature and the evolutions of the eternal heavens. But the 
allegory unknown, the types themselves have furnished to 
credulous nations the materials of many creeds. They have 
travelled to the vast plains of India ; they have mixed 

* The believer will draw from this vague coincidence a very different 
corollary from that of the Egyptian. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 119 

themselves up in the visionary speculations of the Greek : 
becoming more and H^re gross and embodied, as they 
emerge farther from the shadows of their antique origin, 
they have assumed a human and palpable form in this 
novel faith ; and the believers of Galilee are but the uncon- 
scious repeaters of one of the superstitions of the Nile ! " 

This was the last argument which completely subdued 
the priest. It was necessary to him, as to all, to believe in 
something; and undivided and, at last, unreluctant, he 
surrendered himself to that belief which Arbaces incul- 
cated, and which all that was human in passion — all that 
was flattering in vanity — all that was alluring in pleasure, 
served to invite to, and contributed to confirm. 

This conquest, thus easily made, the Egyptian could now 
give himself wholly up to the pursuit of a far dearer and 
mightier object; and he hailed, in his success with the 
brother, an omen of his triumph over the sister. 

He had seen lone on the day following the revel we have 
witnessed; and which was also the day after he had 
poisoned her mind against his rival. The next day, and 
the next, he saw her also : and each time he laid himself 
out with consummate art, partly to confirm her impression 
against Glaucus, and principally to prepare her for the im- 
pressions he desired her to receive. The proud lone took 
care to conceal the anguish she endured ; and the pride of 
woman has an hypocrisy which can deceive the most pene- 
trating, and shame the most astute. But Arbaces was no 
less cautious not to recur to a subject which he felt it was 
most politic to treat as of the lightest importance. He 
knew that by dwelling much upon the fault of a rival, you 
only give him dignity in the eyes of your mistress : the 
wisest plan is, neither loudly to hate, nor bitterly to con- 
temn ; the wisest plan is to lower him by an indifference of 
tone, as if you could not dream that he could be loved. 
Your safety is in concealing the wound to your own 
pride, and imperceptibly alarming that of the umpire, 
whose voice is fate! Such, in all times, will be the 
policy of one who knows the science of the sex — it was now 
the Egyptian's. 

He recurred no more, then, to the presumption of 
Glaucus ; he mentioned his name, but not more often than 
that of Clodius or of Lepidus. He affected to class them 
together as things of a low and ephemeral species ; as things 



120 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

wanting nothing of the butterfly, save its innocence and its 
grace. Sometimes he slightly alluded to some invented 
debauch, in which he declared them companions; some- 
times he adverted to them as the antipodes of those lofty 
and spiritual natures, to whose order that of lone be- 
longed. Blinded alike by the pride of lone, and, perhaps, 
by his own, he dreamed not that she already loved ; but he 
dreaded lest she might have formed for Glaucus the first 
fluttering prepossessions that lead to love. And, secretly, 
he ground his teeth in rage and jealousy, when he re- 
flected on the youth, the fascinations, and the brilliancy of 
that formidable rival whom he pretended to undervalue. 

It was on the fourth day from the date of the close of 
the previous book, that Arbaces and lone sat together. 

"You wear your veil at home," said the Egyptian; 
" that is not fair to those whom you honour with your 
friendship." 

" But to Arbaces," answered lone, who, indeed, had cast 
the veil over her features to conceal eyes red with weep- 
ing, — "to Arbaces, who looks only to the mind, what 
matters it that the face is concealed ? " 

"I do look only to the mind," replied the Egyptian: 
" show me then your face — for there I shall see it ! " 

" You grow gallant in the air of Pompeii," said lone, 
with a forced tone of gaiety. 

" Do you think, fair lone, that it is only at Pompeii that 
I have learned to value you ? " The Egyptian's voico 
trembled — he paused for a moment, and then resumed. 

" There is a love, beautiful Greek, which is not the love 
only of the thoughtless and the young — there is a love 
which sees not with the eyes, which hears not with the 
ears ; but in which soul is enamoured of soul. The coun- 
trymen of thy ancestors, the cave-nursed Plato, dreamed of 
such a love — his followers have sought to imitate it ; but it 
is a love that is not for the herd to echo — it is a love that 
only high and noble natures can conceive — it hath nothing 
in common with the sympathies and ties of coarse affection ; 
— wrinkles do not revolt it — homeliness of feature does not 
deter ; it ask3 youth, it is true, but it asks it only in the 
freshness of the emotions ; it asks beauty, it is true, but it 
is the beauty of the thought and of the spirit. Such is the 
love, lone, which is a worthy offering to thee from the 
cold and the austere. Austere and cold thou doemest me-* 



THE LAST DAYS T)F POMPEII. 12] 

such is the love that I venture to lay upon thy shrine — 
— thou canst receive it without a blush." 

" And its name is Friendship ! " replied lone : her answer 
was innocent, yet it sounded like the reproof of one con- 
scious of the design of the speaker. 

" Friendship ! " said Arbaces, vehemently. " No ; that 
is a word too often profaned to apply to a sentiment so 
sacred. Friendship ! it is a tie that binds fools and pro- 
fligates ! Friendship ! it is the bond that unites the fri- 
volous hearts of a Glaucus and a Clodius ! Friendship ! 
no, that is an affection of earth, of vulgar habits and sordid 
sympathies ; the feeling of which I speak is borrowed from 
the stars* — it partakes of that mystic and ineffable yearn- 
ing, which we feel when we gaze on them — it burns, yet it 
purifies, — it is the lamp of naphtha in the alabaster vase, 
glowing with fragrant odours, but shining only through 
the purest vessels. No ; it is not love, and it is not friend- 
ship, that Arbaces feels for lone. Give it no name — earth 
has no name for it — it is not of earth — why debase it with 
earthly epithets and earthly associations ? " 

Never before had Arbaces ventured so far, yet he felt his 
gronnd step by step : he knew that he uttered a language 
which, if at this day of affected platonisms it would speak 
unequivocally to the ears of beauty, was at that time strange 
and unfamiliar, to which no precise idea could be attached, 
from which he could imperceptibly advance or recede, as 
occasion suited, as hope encouraged or fear deterred. lone 
trembled, though she knew not why; her veil hid her 
features, and masked an expression, which, if seen by tho 
Egyptian, would have at once damped and enraged him ; 
in fact, he never was more displeasing to her — the har- 
monious modulation of the most suasive voice that ever 
disguised unhallowed thought fell discordantly on her ear. 
Her whole soul was still filled with the image of Glaucus ; 
and the accent of tenderness from another only revolted 
and dismayed ; yet she did not conceive that any passion 
more ardent than that platonism which Arbaces expressed 
larked beneath his words. She thought that he, in truth, 
spoke only of the affection and sympathy of the soul ; but 
was it not precisely that affection and that sympathy which 
had made a part of those emotions she felt for Glaucus ; and 

♦Plato. 



122 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

could any other footstep than his approach the haunted 
adytus of her heart ? 

Anxious at once to change the conversation, she replied, 
therefore, with a cold and indifferent Toice, " Whomsoever 
Arbaces honours with the sentiment of esteem, it is natural 
that his elevated wisdom should colour that sentiment with 
its own hues ; it is natural that his friendship should he 
purer than that of others, whose pursuits and errors he 
does not deign to share. B- * tell me, Arbaces, hast thou 
seen my brother of late ? He has not visited me for several 
days ; and when I last saw him his manner disturbed and 
alarmed me much. I fear lest he was too precipitate in the 
severe choice that he has adopted, and that he repents an 
irrevocable step." 

"Be cheered, Tone," replied the Egyptian. " It is true, 
that some little time since he was troubled and sad of 
spirit ; those doubts beset him which were likely to haunt 
one of that fervent temperament, which ever ebbs and 
flows, and vibrates between excitement and exhaustion. But 
he, lone, he came to me in his anxieties and his distress ; 
he sought one who pitied and loved him ; I have calmed 
his mind — I have removed his doubts — I have taken him 
from the threshold of Wisdom into its temple ; and before 
the majesty of the goddess his soul is hushed and soothed. 
Fear not, he will repent no more ; they who trust them- 
selves to Arbaces never repent but for a moment." 

" You rejoice me," answered lone. " My dear brother ! 
in his contentment I am happy." 

The conversation then turned upon lighter subjects ; the 
Egyptian exerted himself to please, he condescended even 
to entertain ; the vast variety of his knowledge enabled 
him to adorn and light up every subject on which he 
to ached ; and lone, forgetting the displeasing effect of 
his former words, was carried away, despite her sadness, 
by the magic of his intellect. Her manner became un- 
restrained and her language fluent ; and Arbaces, who had 
waited his opportunity, now hastened to seize it. 

"You have never seen," said he, "the interior of my 
home ; it may amuse you to do so : it contains some rooms 
that may explain to you what you have often asked me to 
describe — the fashion of an Egyptian house ; not, indeed, 
that you will perceive in the poor and minute proportions 
of Roman architecture the massive strength, the vast 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 123 

space, the gigantic magnificence, or even the domestic 
construction of the palaces of Thebes and Memphis ; but 
something there is, here and there, that may serve to 
express to you some notion of that antique civilisation 
which has humanised the world. Devote, then, to the 
austere friend of your youth, one of these bright summer 
evenings, and let me boast that my gloomy mansion has 
been honoured with the presence of the admired lone. 

Unconscious of the pollutions of the mansion, of the 
danger that awaited her, lone readily assented to the pro- 
posal. The ntctt evening was fixed for the visit; and the 
Egyptian, with a serene countenance, and a heart beating 
with fierce and unholy joy, departed. Scarce had he gone, 

when another visitor claimed admission. But now we 

return to G-laucus. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE POOR TORTOISE. — NEW CHANGES FOR NYDIA. 

The morning sun shone over the small and odorous 
garden enclosed within the peristyle of the house of the 
Athenian. He lay reclined, sad and listlessly, on the 
smooth grass which intersected the viridarium; and a 
slight canopy stretched above, broke the fierce rays of the 
summer sun. 

When that fairy mansion was first disinterred from the 
earth they found in the garden the shell of a tortoise that 
had been its inmate.* That animal, so strange a link in 
the creation, to which Nature seems to have denied all the 
pleasures of life* save life's passive and dreamlike percep- 
tion, had been the guest of the place for years before 
Glaucus purchased it ; for years, indeed, which went beyond 
the memory of man, and to which tradition assigned an 
almost incredible date. The house had been built and 
rebuilt — its possessors had changed and fluctuated — gene- 
rations had flourished and decayed — and still the tortoise 
dragged on its slow and unsympathising existence. In the 
earthquake, which sixteen years before had overthrown 
many of the public buildings of the city, and scared away 

* I do not know whether it be still preserved (I hope so), but the shell of 
a tortoise was found in the house appropriated, in this work, to Glaucus. 



121 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the amazed inhabitants, the house now inhabited by Glaucus 
had been terribly shattered. The possessors deserted it 
for many days ; on their return they cleared away the ruins 
which encumbered the viridarium, and found still the 
tortoise, unharmed and unconscious of the surrounding 
destruction. It seemed to bear a charmed life in its languid 
blood and imperceptible motions ; yet was it not so inactive 
as it seemed: it held a regular and monotonous course; 
inch by inch it traversed the little orbit of its domain, 
taking months to accomplish the whole gyration. It was 
a restless voyager, that tortoise ! — patiently, and with pain, 
did it perform its self-appointed journeys, evincing no 
interest in the things around it — a philosopher concentrated 
in itself. There was something grand in its solitary sel- 
fishness ! — the sun in which it basked — the waters poured 
daily over it — the air, which it insensibly inhaled, were its 
sole and unfailing luxuries. The mild changes of the 
season, in that lovely clime, affected it not. It covered 
itself with its shell — as the saint in his piety — as the sage 
in his wisdom — as the lover in his hope. 

It was impervious to the shocks and mutations of time- 
it was an emblem of time itself : slow, regular, perpetual : 
unwitting of the passions that fret themselves around — of 
the wear and tear of mortality. The poor tortoise ! nothing 
less than the bursting of volcanoes, the convulsions of the 
riven world, could have quenched its sluggish spark ! The 
inexorable Death, that spared not pomp or beauty, passed 
unhcedingly by a thing to which death could bring so 
insignificant a change. 

For this animal, the mercurial and vivid Greek felt all 
the wonder and affection of contrast. He could spend hours 
in surveying its creeping progress, in moralising over its 
mechanism. He despised it in joy — he envied it in sorrow 

Regarding it now as he lay along the sward — its dull 
mass moving while it seemed motionless, the Athenian 
mnrmured to himself: — 

" The eagle dropped a stone from his talons, thinking to 
break thy shell : the stone crushed the head of a poet. This 
is the allegory of Fate ! Dull thing ! Thou hadst a father 
and a mother ; perhaps, ages ago, thou thyself hadst a 
mate. Did thy parents love, or didst thon? Did thy slow 
blood circulate more gladly when thou didst creep to the 
side of thy wedded one ? Wert thou capable of affection ? 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 125 

Could it distress thee if she were away from thy side ? 
Couldst thou feel when she was present ? What would I 
not give to know the history of thy mailed breast — to gaze 
upon the mechanism of thy faint desires — to mark what 
hairbreadth difference separates thy sorrow from thy joy ! 
Yet, methinks, thou wouldst know if lone were present ! 
Thou wouldst feel her coming like a happier air — like a 
gladder sun. I envy thee now, for thou knowest not that 
she is absent ; and I — would I could be like thee — between 
the intervals of seeing her ! What doubt, what presenti- 
ment, haunts me ! why will she not admit me ? Days have 
passed since I heard her voice. For the first time, lifo 
grows flat to me. I am as one who is left alone at a 
banquet, the lights dead, and the flowers faded. Ah! 
lone, couldst thou dream how I adore thee ! " 

From these enamoured reveries, Glaucus was interrupted 
by the entrance of Nydia. She came with her light, though 
cautious step, along the marble tablinum. She passed the 
portico, and paused at the flowers which bordered the 
garden. She had her water- vase in her hand, and she 
sprinkled the thirsting plants, which seemed to brighten at 
her approach. She bent to inhale their odour. She touched 
them timidly and caressingly. She felt, along their stems, 
if any withered leaf or creeping insect marred their beauty. 
And as she hovered from flower to flower, with her earnest 
and youthful countenance and graceful motions, you could 
not have imagined a fitter handmaid for the goddess of the 
garden. 

" Nydia, my child ! " said Glaucus. 

At the sound of his voice she paused at once — listening, 
blushing, breathless ; with her lips parted, her face up- 
turned to catch the direction of the sound, she laid down 
the vase — she hastened to him ; and wonderful it was to 
see how unerringly she threaded her dark way through the 
flowers, and came by the shortest path to the side of her 
new lord. 

" Nydia," said Glaucus, tenderly stroking back her long 
and beautiful hair, " it is now three days since thou hast 
been under the protection of my household gods. Have 
they smiled on thee ? Art thou happy ? " 

" Ah ! so happy ! " sighed the slave. 

" And now," continued Glaucus, " that thou hast recovered 
somewhat from the hateful recollections of thy former 



126 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

state, — and now that they have fitted thee [touching her 
broidered tonic] with garments more meet for thy delicate 
shape, — and now, sweet child, that thon hast accustomed 
thyself to a happiness, which may the gods grant thee 
ever ! I am about to pray at thy hands a boon." 

" Oh ! what can I do for thee ? " said Nydia, clasping her 
hands. 

" Listen," said Glaucus, " and young as thon art, thou 
shalt bo my confidant. Hast thou ever heard the name of 
lone ? " 

" The blind girl gasped for breath, and turning pale as 
one of the statues which shone upon them from the peristyle, 
she answered with an effort, and after a moment's pause, — 

" Yes ! I have heard that she is of Neapolis, and 
beautiful." 

" Beautiful ! her beauty is a thing to dazzle the day ! 
Neapolis ! nay, she is Greek by origin ; Greece only could 
furnish forth such shapes. Nydia, I love her ! " 

" I thought so," replied Nydia, calmly. 

" I love, and thou shalt tell her so. I am about to send 
thee to her. Happy Nydia, thou wilt be in her chamber — 
thou wilt drink the music of her voice — thou wilt bask in 
the sunny air of her presence ! " 

" What ! what ! wilt thou send me from thee ? " 

" Thou wilt go to lone," answered Glaucus, in a tone that 
said, "What more canst thou desire ?" 

Nydia burst into tears. 

Glaucus, raising himself, drew her towards him with the 
soothing caresses of a brother. 

" My child, my Nydia, thou weepest in ignorance of the 
happiness I bestow on thee. She is gentle, and kind, and 
soft as the breeze of spring. She will be a sister to thy 
youth — she will appreciate thy winning talents — she will 
love thy simple graces as none other could, for they are like 
her own. Weepest thou still, fond fool ? I will not force 
thee, sweet. Wilt thou not do for me this kindness ? " 

" Well, if I can serve thee, command. See, I weep no 
longer — I am calm." 

" That is my own Nydia," continued Glaucus, kissing her 
hand. " Go, then, to her : if thou art disappointed in her 
kindness — if I have deceived thee, return when thon wilt, 
I do not gwe thee to another ; I but lend. My home ever 
be thy refuge, sweet one. Ah! would it could shelter all 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 127 

the friendless and distressed ! But if my heart whispers 
truly, I shall claim thee again soon, my child. My home 
and Ione's will become the same, and thou shalt dwell with 
both;" 

A shiver passed through the slight frame of the blind 
girl, but she wept no^more — she was resigned. 

" Go, then, my Nydia, to Ione's house — they shall show 
thee the way. Take her the fairest flowers thou canst 
pluck ; the vase which contains them I will give thee : thou 
must excuse its unworthiness. Thou shalt take, too, with 
thee the lute that I gave thee yesterday, and from which 
thou knowest so well to awaken the charming spirit. Thou 
shalt give her also, this letter, in which, after a hundred 
efforts, I have embodied something of my thoughts. Let 
thy ear catch every accent, every modulation of her voice, 
and tell me, when we meet again, if its music should flatter 
me or discourage. It is now, Nydia, some days since I 
have been admitted ta lone ; there is something mysterious 
in this exclusion. I am distracted with doubts and fears ; 
learn — for thou art quick, and thy care for me will sharpen 
tenfold thy acuteness — learn the cause of this unkindness ; 
speak of me as often as thou canst ; let my name come ever 
to thy lips ; insinuate how I love rather than proclaim it ; 
watch if she sighs whilst thou speakest, if she answer thee ; 
or, if she reproves, in what accents she reproves. Be my 
friend, plead for me : and oh ! how vastly wilt thou over- 
pay the little I have done for thee ! Thou comprehendest, 
Nydia ; thou art yet a child — have I said more than thou 
canst understand r " 

"No." 

" And thou wilt serve me ? " 

"Yes." 

" Come to me when thou hast gathered the flowers, and I 
will give thee the vase I speak of ; seek me in the chamber 
of Leda. Pretty one, thou dost not grieve now ? " 

" Glaucus, I am a slave ; what business have I with grief 
or joyP" 

" Sayest thou so ? No, Nydia, be free. I give thee 
freedom; enjoy it as thou wilt, and pardon me that I 
reckoned on thy desire to serve me." 

" Yon are offended. Oh ! I would not, for that which no 
freedom can give, offend you, Glaucus. My guardian, my 
saviour, my protector, forgive the poor blind girl ! She 



128 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

docs not grieve even in leaving thee, if she can contribute 
to thy liapp 111088.' ' 

" May tho gods bless this grateful heart ! " said Glancus, 
greatly moved ; and, unconscious of tho fires he excited, ho 
repeatedly kissed her forehead. 

" Thou forgivest me," said she, " and thou wilt talk no 
more of freedom ; my happiness is to be thy slave : thou 
hast promised thou wilt not give mo to another " 

44 1 have promised." 

" And now, then, I will gather tho flowers." 

Silently, Nydia took from tho hand of Glaucus, the 
costly and jewelled vase, in which tho flowers vied with 
each other in hue and fragrance; tearlessly she received 
his parting admonition. She paused for a moment when 
his voice ceased — she did not trust herself to reply — she 
sought his hand — sho raised it to her lips, dropped her veil 
over her face, and passed at once from his presence. She 
paused again as she reached the threshold ; sho stretched 
her hands towards it, and murmured, — 

" Throo happy days — days of unspeakable delight, have 
I known since T passed thee — blessed threshold ! may peace 
dwell ever with thee when I am gone ! And now, my 
heart tears itself from thee, and tho only sound it uttera 
bids me — die ! " 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE HAPPY BEAUTY AND THE BLIND SLAVE. 

A slave entered tho chamber of lone. A messenger 
from Glaucus desired to bo admitted. 

lone hesitated an instant. 

" She is blind, that messenger," said the slave ; " she will 
do her commission to none but thee." 

Base is that heart which does not respect affliction ! The 
moment sho heard the messenger was blind, lone felt the 
impossibility of returning a chilling reply. Glaucus had 
chosen a herald that was indeed sacred — a herald that 
could not be denied. 

" What can he want with me ? what message can he 
send ? " and tho heart of lone beat quick. The curtain 



¥HE LAST DAtS OF POMPEII. 1 2d 

across the door was withdrawn ; a soft and ccholess step 
fell npon the marble ; and Nydia, led by one of the attend- 
ants, entered with her precious gift. 

She stood still a moment, us if listening for some sound 
that might direct her. 

*• Will the noble lone," said she, in a soft and low voice, 
" deign to speak, that I may know whither to steer these 
benighted steps, and that I may lay my offerings at her 
feet ? " 

" Fair child," said lone, touched and soothingly, " give 
not thyself the pain to cross these slippery floors, my 
attendant will bring to me what thou hast to present ; " 
and she motioned to the handmaid to take the vase. 

" I may give these flowers to none but thee," answered 
Nydia ; and, guided by her ear, she walked slowly to the 
place where lone sat, and kneeling when she came before 
her, proffered the vase. 

lone took it from her hand, and placed it on the table at 
her side. She then raised her gently, and would have 
seated her on the couch, but the girl modestly resisted. 

" I have not yet discharged my office," said she ; and 
she drew the letter of Glaucus from her vest. " This will, 
perhaps, explain why he who sent me chose so unworthy 
a messenger to lone." 

The Neapolitan took the letter with a hand, the trem- 
bling of which Nydia at once felt and sighed to feel. With 
folded arms, and downcast looks, she stood before the 
proud and stately form of lone ; — no less proud, perhaps, 
in her attitude of submission. lone waved her hand, and 
the attendants withdrew ; she gazed again upon the form * 
of the young slave in surprise and beautiful compassion ; 
then, retiring a little from her, she opened and read the 
following letter : — 

" Glaucus to lone sends more than he dares to utter. Is 
lone ill ? thy slaves tell me ' No/ and that assurance com- 
forts me. Has Glaucus offended lone ? — ah ! that question 
I may not ask from them. For five days I have been 
banished from thy presence. Has the sun shone? — I 
know it not. Has the sky smiled ? — it has had no smilo 
for me. My sun and my sky are lone. Do I offend thee ? 
Am I too bold ? Do I say that on the tablet which my 
tongue has hesitated to breathe? Alas! it is in thine 

K. 



130 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

absence that I feel most the spells by which thou hast sub* 
ducd me. And absence, that deprives me of joy, brings 
me courage. Thou wilt not see me; thou hast. banished 
also the common flatterers that flock around thee. Canst 
thou confound me with them ? It is not possible ! Thou 
knowest too well that I am not of them — that their clay is 
not mine. For even were I of the humblest mould, the 
fragrance of the rose has penetrated me, and the spirit of 
thy nature hath passed within me, to embalm, to sanctify, 
to inspire. Have they slandered me to thee, lone ? Thou 
wilt not believe them. Did the Delphic oracle itself tell 
me thou wert unworthy, I would not believe it ; and am I 
less incredulous than thou ? I think of the last time we 
met — of the song which I sang to thee — of the look that 
thou gavest mc in return. Disguise it as thou wilt, lone, 
there is something kindred between us, and our eyes 
acknowledged it, though our lips were silent. Deign to see 
me, to listen to me, and after that exclude me if thou wilt. 
I meant not so soon to say I loved. But those words rush 
to my heart — they will have way. Accept, then, my 
homage and my vows. We met first at the shrine of 
Pallas ; shall we not meet before a softer and a more ancient 
altar ? 

" Beautiful ! adored lone ! If my hot youth and my 
Athenian blood have misguided and allured me, they have 
but taught my wanderings to appreciate the rest — the 
haven they have attained. I hang up my dripping robes 
on the Sea-god's shrine. I have escaped shipwreck. I 
have found thee. lone, deign to see me ; thou art gentle 
to strangers, wilt thou be less merciful to those of thine 
own land ? I await thy reply. Accept the flowers which 
I send — their sweet breath has a language more eloquent 
than words. They take from the sun the odours they re- 
turn — they are the emblem of the love that receives and 
repays tenfold — the emblem of the heart that drunk thy 
rays, and owes to thee the germ of the treasures that it 
proffers to thy smile. I send these by one whom thou wilt 
receive for her own sake, if not for mine. She, like us, is 
a stranger ; her fathers' ashes lie under brighter skies : but, 
less happy than we, she is blind and a slave. Poor Nydia ! 
I seek as much as possible to repair to her the cruelties of 
Nature and of Fate, in asking permission to place her with 
thee. She is gentle, quick, and docile. She is skilled in 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 131 

music and the song ; and she is a very Chloris * to the 
flowers. She thinks, lone, that thou wilt lovo her: if 
thou dost not, send her back to me. 

" One word more, — let me be bold, lone. Why thinkest 
thon so highly of yon dark Egyptian ! he hath not about 
him the air of honest men. We Greeks learn mankind 
from our cradle ; we are not the less profound, in that wo 
affect no sombre mien ; our lips smile, but our eyes aro 
grave — they observe — they note — they study. Arbaccs is 
not one to be credulously trusted : can it be that he hath 
wronged me to thee ? I think it, for I left him with thee ; 
thou sawest how my presence stung him ; since then thou 
hast not admitted me. Believe nothing that he can say to 
my disfavour ; if thou dost, tell me so at once ; for this 
lone owes to Grlaucus. Farewell ! this letter touches thy 
hand ; these characters meet thine eyes — shall they be 
more blessed than he who is their author. Once more, 
farewell ! " 

It seemed to lone, as she read this letter, as if a mist 
had fallen from her eyes. What had been the supposed 
offence of Grlaucus ? — that he had not really loved ! And 
now, plainly, and in no dubious terms, he confessed that 
love. From that moment his power was fully restored. 
At every tender word in that letter, so full of romantic 
and trustful passion, her heart smote her. And had she 
doubted his faith, and had she believed another ? and had 
she not, at least, allowed to him the culprit's right to know 
his crime, to plead in his defence ? — the tears rolled down 
her cheeks — she kissed the letter — she placed it in her 
bosom; and, turning to Nydia, who stood in the same 
place and in the same posture : — 

" Wilt thou sit, my child," said she, " while I write an 
answer to this letter r " 

" You will answer it, then ! " said Nydia, coldly. " Well, 
the slave that accompanied me will take back your an- 
swer." 

" For you," said lone, " stay with me— trust me, your 
service shall be light." 

Nydia bowed her head. 

" What is your name, fair girl ? " 

" They call me Nydia." 

* The Greek Flora. 

K2 



133 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Your country ? " 

" The land of Olympus— Thessaly." 

" Thou shalt be to me a friend," said lone, caressingly, 
" as thou art already half a countrywoman. Meanwhile, I 
beseech thee, stand not on these cold and glassy marbles. 
— There ! now that thou art seated, I can leave thee for 
an instant." 

"lone to Glaucus greeting. — Come to me, Glaucus," 
wroto lone, — " come to mo to-morrow. I may have been 
unjust to thee ; but I will tell thee, at least, the fault that 
has been imputed to thy charge. Fear not, henceforth, the 
Egyptian — fear none. Thou sayest thou hast expressed 
too much — alas ! in these hasty words I have already done 
so. Farewell ! " 

As lone reappeared with the letter, which she did not 
dare to read after she had written (Ah ! common rashness, 
common timidity of love !) — Nydia started from her seat. 

" You have written to Grlaucus ? " 

" I have." 

" And will he thank the messenger who gives to him 
thy letter?" 

lone forgot that her companion was blind ; she blushed 
from the brow to the neck, and remained silent. 

" I mean this," added Nydia, in a calmer tone ; " the 
lightest word of coldness from thee will sadden him — tho 
lightest kindness will rejoice. If it bo tho first, let tho 
slave take back thine answer ; if it be tho last, let me — I 
will return this evening." 

" And why, Nydia," asked Tone, evasively, " wouldst 
thou be the bearer of my letter ? " 

"It is so, then ! " said Nydia. " Ah ! how could it b^ 
otherwise ; who could be unkind to Glaucus ? " 

"My child," said lone, a little more reservedly than 
bofore, " thou speakost warmly — Glaucus, then, is amiable 
in thine eyes ? " 

" Noble Iono ! Glaucus has been that to me which 
neither fortune nor tho gods have been — a friend ! " 

Tho sadness mingled with dignity with which Nydia 
uttered theso siniplo words, affected tho beautiful lone; 
she bent down and kissed her. " Thou art grateful, and 
deservedly so ; why should I blush to say that Glaucus is 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 138 

worthy of thy gratitude? Go, my Nydia — take to him 
thyself this letter — but return again. If I am from homo 
when thou returnest — as this evening, perhaps, I shall be — 
thy chamber shall be prepared next my own. Nydia, I 
have no sister — wilt thou bo one to me ? " 

The Thessalian kissed the hand of lone, and then said, 
with some embarrassment, — 

" One favour, fair lone — may I dare to ask it ? " 

" Thou canst not ask what I will not grant," replied the 
Neapolitan. 

44 They tell me," said Nydia, " that thou art beautiful 
beyond the loveliness of earth. Alas ! I cannot see that 
which gladdens the world ? Wilt thou suffer me, then, to 
pass my hand over thy face ? — that is my sole criterion of 
beauty, and I usually guess aright." 

She did not wait for the answer of lone, but, as she 
spoke, gently and slowly passed her hand over the bending 
and half-averted features of the Greek — features which but 
one image in the world can yet depicture and recall — that 
image is the mutilated, but all-wondrous, statue in her 
native city — her own Neapolis ; — that Parian face, before 
which all the beauty of the Florentine Yen us is poor and 
earthly — that aspect so full of harmony — of youth — of 
genius — of the soul — which modern critics have supposed 
the representation of Psyche.* 

Her touch lingered over the braided hair and polished 
brow — over the downy and damask check — over the 
dimpled lip — the swan-like and whitish neck. 4< I know 
now, that thou art beautiful, " she said : 4t and I can picture 
thee to my darkness henceforth, and for ever ! " 

When Nydia left her, lone sank into a deep but 
delicious reverie. Glaucus then loved her ; he owned it — 
yes, he loved her. She drew forth again that dear con- 
fession ; she paused over every word, she kissed every line ; 
she did not ask why he had been maligned, she only felt 
assured that he had been so. She wondered how she had 
ever believed a syllable against him ; she wondered how 
the Egyptiin had been enabled to exercise a power against 
Glaucus ; she felt a chill creep over, her as she again turned 
to his warning against Arbaces, and her secret fear of that 

* The wonderful remains of the statue so called in the Museo Borbonico. 
The face, for sentiment and for feature, is the most beautiful of all which 
ancient sculpture has bequeathed to us. 



134 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

gloomy being darkened into awe. She was awakened from. 
these thoughts by her maidens, who came to announce to 
her that the hour appointed to visit Arbaces was arrived ; 
she started, she had forgotten the promise. Her first 
impression was to renounce it ; her second, was to laugh at 
her own fears of her eldest surviving friend. She hastened 
to add the usual ornaments to her dress, and doubtful 
whether she should yet question the Egyptian more closely 
with respect to his accusation of Glaucus, or whether she 
should wait till, without citing the authority, she should 
insinuate to Glaucus the accusation itself, she took her way 
to the gloomy mansion of Arbaces. 



CHAPTER VII. 

IONB ENTRAPPED. — THE MOUSE TRIES TO GNAW THE NET. 

" O dearest Nydia ! " exclaimed Glaucus as he read the 
letter of lone, " whitest-robed messenger that ever passed 
between earth and heaven — how, how shall I thank thee? n 

" I am rewarded," said the poor Thessalian. 

" To-morrow — to-morrow ! how shall I while the hours 
till then ? " 

The enamoured Greek would not let Nydia escape him | 
though she sought several times to leave the chamber ; he 
made her recite to him over and over again every syllable 
of the brief conversation that had taken place between her 
and lone ; a thousand times, forgetting her misfortune, he 
questioned her of the looks, of the countenance of his 
beloved ; and then quickly again excusing his fault, he 
bade her recommence the whole recital which he had thus 
interrupted. The hours thus painful to Nydia passed 
rapidly and delightfully to him, and the twilight had 
already darkened ere he once more dismissed her to lone 
with a fresh letter and with new flowers. Scarcely had 
she gone, than Clodius and several of his gay companions 
broke in upon him ; they rallied him on his seclusion 
during the whole day, and his absence from his customary 
haunts ; they invited him to accompany them to the various 
resorts in that lively city, which night and day proffered 
diversity to pleasure. Then, as now, in the south (for no 
land, perhaps, losing more of greatness has retained more 



THE LAST DAY8 OP POMPEII. 135 

of custom), it was the delight of the Italians to assemble 
at the evening ; and, under the porticos of temples or the 
shade of the groves that interspersed the streets, listening 
to music or the recitals of some inventive tale-teller, they 
hailed the rising moon with libations of wine and the 
melodies of song. Glancus was too happy to be unsocial ; 
lie longed to cast off the exuberance of joy that oppressed 
him. He willingly accepted the proposal of his comrades, 
and laughingly they sallied out together down the popu- 
lous and glittering streets. 

In the meantime Nydia once more gained the house of 
lone, who had long left it ; she inquired indifferently whither 
lone had gone. 

The answer arrested and appalled her. 

"To the house of Arbaces — of the Egyptian? Im- 
possible ! " 

"It is true, my little one," said the slave, who had 
replied to her question. "She has known the Egyptian 
long." 

"Long! ye gods, yet Glancus loves her!" murmured 
Nydia to herself. 

" And has," asked she aloud, — " has she often visited 
him before ? " 

"Never till now," answered the slave. "If all the 
rumoured scandal of Pompeii be true, it would be better, 
perhaps, if she had not ventured there at present. But 
she, poor mistress mine, hears nothing of that which reaches 
us; the talk of the vestibulum reaches not to the peris- 
tyle. " * 

" Never till now ! " repeated Nydia. " Axt thou sure ? " 

" Sure, pretty one : but what is that to thee or to us ? " 

Nydia hesitated a moment, and then, putting down tho 
flowers with which she had been charged, she called to the 
slave who had accompanied her, and left the house without 
saying another word. 

Not till she had got half way back to the house of 
Glaucus did she break silence, and even then sho only 
murmured inly : — 

" She does not dream — she cannot — of the dangers into 
which she has plunged. Fool that I am, — shall I save 
her ! — yes, for I love Glaucus better tiian myself." 

When she arrived at the house of the Athenian, she 

* Terencne 



136 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

learnt that lie had gone out with a party of his friends, and 
none knew whither. He prolwbly woald not be home 
before midnight. 

The Thessalinn groaned; she sank upon a seat in the 
hall, and covered her face with her hands as if to collect 
her thoughts. " There is no time to be lost." thought she, 
starting up. She turned to the slave who had accompanied 
her. 

" Knowest thou," said she, " if Iunc has any relative, 
any intimate friend at Pompeii r " 

4i Why, by Jupiter ! " answered the slave, " art thou 
silly enough to ask the question ? Every one in Pompeii 
knows that lone has a brother who, young and rich, has 
been — under the rose I speak — so foolish as to become a 
priest of Isis." 

'* A priest of Isis ! O Gods ! his name ? n 

'*Apa?cides." 

'*I know it all." muttered Nvdia: "brother and sister, 
then, are to be both victims ! Apsecides ! yes, that was 

the name I heard in Ha ! he well, then, knows the 

peril that surrounds his sister ; I will go to him." 

She sprang up at that thought, and taking the staff 
which always guided her steps, she hastened to the neigh- 
bouring shrine of Isis. Till she had been under the 
guardianship of the kindly Greek, that staff had sufficed to 
conduct the poor blind girl from corner to corner of 
Pompeii. Every street, every turning in the more fre- 
quented parts, was familiar to her ; and as the inhabitants 
entertained r. tender and half- superstitious veneration for 
those subject to her infirmity, the passengers had always 
given way to her timid steps. Poor girl, she little dreamed 
that she should, ere very many days were passed, find her 
blindness her protection, and a guide far safer than the 
keenest eyes ! 

But since she had been under the roof of Glaucus, he 
had ordered a slave to accompany her always ; and the 
poor devil thus appointed, who was somewhat of the 
fattest, and who, after having twice performed the journey 
to Ione's house, now saw himself condemned to a third 
excursion (whither the gods only knew), hastened after 
her, deploring his fate, and solemnly assuring Castor and 
Pollux that he believed the blind girl had the talaria of 
Mercury as well as the infirmity of Cupid. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 187 

Nydia, however, required but little of his assistance to 
find her way to the popular temple of Isis : the space bo- 
fore it was now deserted, and she won without obstacle 'to 
the sacred rail. 

" There is no one here," said the fat slave. " What dost 
thou want, or whom ? EInowcst thou not that the priests 
do not live in the temple ? " 

" Call out," said she, impatiently ; " night and day there 
is always one flanien, at least, watching in the shrines of 
Isis." 

The slave called, — no one appeared. 

" Seest thou no one ? " 

" No one." 

" Thou mistakest ; I hear a sigh : look again." 

The slave, wondering and grumbling, cast round his 
heavy eyes, and before one of the altars, whose remains 
still crowd the narrow space, he beheld a form bending as 
in meditation. 

" I see a figure," said he ; " and by the white garments, 
it is a priest." 

" O flanien of Isis ! " cried Nydia ; " servant of the Most 
Ancient, hear me ! " 

" Who calls ? " said a low and melancholy voice. 

" One who has no common tidings to impart to a 
member of your body : I come to declare aud not to ask 
oracles." 

" With whom wouldst thou confer? This is no hour 
for thy conference ; depart, disturb me not : the night is 
sacred to the gods, the day to men." 

" Methinks I know thy voice ? thou art he whom I seek ; 
yet I have heard thee speak but once before. Art thou not 
the priest Apaecides ? " 

u 1 am that man," replied the priest, emerging from the 
altar, and approaching the rail. 

" Thou art ! the gods be praised ! " Waving her hand 
to the slave, she bade him withdraw to a distance ; and he, 
who naturally imagined some superstition connected, per- 
haps, with the safety of lone, could alone lead her to the 
temple, obeyed, and seated himself on the ground at a 
little distance. " Hush ! " said she, speaking quick and 
low ; " art thou indeed Apcecides ? " 

" If thou knowest me, canst thou not recall my 
features?" 



13S TIIE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

" I am blind," answered Nydia ; " my ©yes are in my 
car, and that recognisos thoo: yet swear that them 
art lle. ,, 

u By the gods I swoar it, by my right hand, and by the 
moon ! " 

4 * Hush! speak low — bend near — give mo thy hand: 
knowest thon Arbaces ? Hast thon laid flowers at the feet 
of tho dead? Ah! thy hand is cold — hark yet! — hast 
thou taken the awful vow ? " 

" Who art thou, whence comest thou, palo maiden P M 
said Apu'cidcs, fearfully : 4< I know thee not ; thine is not 
tho breast on which this head hath lain ; I have never seen 
thee before." 

" But thou hast hoard my voice : no matter, those recol- 
lections it should shame us both to recall. Listen, thou 
host a sister." 

" Speak ! speak ! what of her ? " 

" Thou knowest tho banquets of tho doad, stranger, — it 
pleases thee, perhaps, to share them — would it please thee 
to have thy sister a partaker ? Would it please thee that 
Arbaces was her host ? " 

" O gods, ho dare not ! Girl, if thou mockest me, 
tremble ! I will toar thee limb from limb ! " 

" I speak the truth ; and while I speak, lone is in the 
halls of Arbaces — for the first time his guest. Thou 
knowest if thore bo peril in that first time ! Farewell ! I 
have fulfilled my charge." 

" Stay ! stay ! " cried tho priest, passing his wan hand 
over his brow. " If this be true, what — what can be done 
to save her ? Thoy may not admit mo. I know not all 
the mazes of that iutricato mansion. O Nemesis ! justly 
am I punished ! " 

" I will dismiss yon slave, bo thou my guide and com- 
rade ; I will lead theo to tho private door of the house : I 
will whisper to thoo the word which admits. Take some 
weapon : it may bo needful ! " 

"Wait an instant," said Apax^ides, retiring into one of 
tho cells that flank tho temple, and reappearing in a few 
moments wrapped in a lnrgo cloak, which was thon much 
worn by all classes, and which concealed his sacred dress. 
" Now," he said, grinding his teeth, " if Arbaces hath 
dared to — but ho dare not ! he dare not ! Why should I 
suspect him ? Is ho so base a villain ? I will not think 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 139 

it — yet, sophist ! dark bewildered that he is ! gods pro- 
tect — hush ! are there gods P Yes,' there is ono goddess, at 
least, whose voice I can command ; and that is — Vengeance !" 

Mattering these disconnected thoughts, Apeecides, fol- 
lowed by his silent and sightless companion, hastened 
through the most solitary paths to the houso of the 
Egyptian. 

The slave, abruptly dismissed by Nydia, shrugged his 
shoulders, muttered an adjuration, and, nothing loath, 
rolled off to his cubiculum. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE SOLITUDE AND SOLILOQUY OP THE EGYPTIAN. — 
HIS CHARACTER ANALYSED. 

We must go back a few hours in the progress of our 
story. At the first grey dawn of the day, which Glaucus 
had already marked with white, the Egyptian was seated, 
sleepless and alone, on the summit of the lofty and pyra- 
midal tower which flanked his house. A tall parapet 
around it served as a wall, and conspired, with the height 
of the edifice and the gloomy trees that girded the man- 
sion, to defy the prying eyes of curiosity or observation. 
A table, on which lay a scroll, filled with mystic figures, 
was before him. On high, the stars waxed dim and faint, 
and the shades of night melted from the sterile mountain- 
tops ; only above Vesuvius there rested a deep and massy 
cloud, which for several days past had gathered darker 
and more solid over its summit. The struggle of night 
and day was more visible over the broad ocoan, which 
stretched calm, like a gigantic lake, bounded by the 
circling shores that, covered with vines and foliage, and 
gleaming here and there with the white walls of sleeping 
cities, sloped to the scarce rippling waves. 

It was the hour above all others most sacred to the 
daring science of the Egyptian — the science which would 
read our changeful destinies in the stars. 

He had filled his scroll, he had noted the moment and 
the sign ; and, leaning upon his hand, he had surrendered 
himself to the thoughts which his calculation excited. 

" Again do the stars forewarn me ! Some danger, then, 



150 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

unwelcome. It was yon who taught me to disdain 
adulation : will you unteach your pupil ? " 

There was something so frank and charming in the 
manner of lone, as she thus spoke, that the Egyptian was 
more than ever enamoured, and more than ever disposed 
to renew the offence he had committed; he, however, 
answered quickly and gaily, and hastened to renew the 
conversation. 

He led her through the various chambers of a house, 
which seemed to contain to her eyes, inexperienced to other 
splendour than the minute elegance of Campanian cities, 
the treasures of the world. 

In the walls were set pictures of inestimable art, the 
lights shone over statues of the noblest age of Greece. 
Cabinets of gems, each, cabinet itself a gem, filled up the 
interstices of the columns ; the most precious woods lined 
the thresholds and composed the doors ; gold and jewels 
seemed lavished all around. Sometimes they were alone in 
these rooms — sometimes they passed through silent rows 
of slaves, who, kneeling as she passed, proffered to her 
offerings of bracelets, of chains, of gems, which the Egyptian 
vainly entreated her to receive. 

" I have often heard," said she, wonderingly, " that you 
were rich : but I never dreamed of the amount of your 
wealth." 

"Would I could coin it all," replied the Egyptian, "into 
one crown, which I might place upon that snowy brow ! " 

" Alas ! the weight would crush me; I should be a second 
Tarpcia," answered lone, laughingly. 

" But thou dost not disdain riches, lone ! they know 
not what life is capable of who are not wealthy. Gold is 
the great magician of earth — it realises our dreams — it 
gives them the power of a god — there is a grandeur, a 
sublimity, in its possession ; it is the mightiest, yet the 
most obedient of our slaves." 

The artful Arbaces sought to dazzle the young Neapolitan 
by his treasures and his eloquence ; he sought to awaken in 
her the desire to be mistress of what she surveyed : he 
hoped that she would confound the owner with the posses- 
sions, and that the charms of his wealth would be reflected 
on himself. Meanwhile, lone was secretly somewhat 
uneasy at the gallantries which escaped from those lips, 
which, till lately, had seemed to disdain the common 



THE LAST DAYS Off POMPEII. Ill 

expanse below. Dim in the silenced port of the city rose 
the masts of the galleys : along that mart of luxury and 
of labour was stilled the mighty hum. No lights, save 
here and there from before the columns of a temple, or in 
the porticos of the voiceless forum, broke the wan and 
fluctuating light of the struggling morn. From the heart 
of the torpid city, so soon to vibrate with a thousand pas- 
sions, there came no sound : the streams of life circulated 
not ; they lay locked under the ice of sleep. From the 
huge space of the amphitheatre, with its stony seats rising 
one above the other — coiled and round as some slumbering 
monster — rose a thin and ghastly mist, which gathered 
darker, and more dark, over the scattered foliage that 
gloomed in its vicinity. The city seemed as, after the 
awful change of seventeen ages, it seems now to the tra- 
veller, — a City of the Dead.* 

The ocean itself — that serene and tidelcss sea — lay scarce 
less hushed, save that from its deep bosom came, softened 
by the distance, a faint and regular murmur, like tho 
breathing of its sleep ; and curving far, as with out- 
stretched arms, into the green and beautiful land, it 
seemed unconsciously to clasp to its breast the cities 
sloping to its margin — Stabia?,f and Herculaneum, and 
Pompeii — those children and darlings of the deep. " Ye 
slumber," said the Egyptian, as he scowled over the cities, 
the boast and flower of Campania ; ye slumber ! — would it 
were the eternal repose of death ! As ye now — jewels in 
the crown of empire — so once were the cities of tho Nile ! 
Their greatness hath perished from them, they sleep 
amidst ruins, their palaces and their shrines are tombs, 
the serpent coils in the grass of their streets, tho lizard 
basks in their solitary halls. By that mysterious law of 
Nature, which humbles one to exalt the other, ye have 
thriven upon their ruins; thou, haughty Rome, hast 
usurped the glories of Sesostris and Semiramis — thou art a 
robber, clothing thyself with their spoils ! And these — 
slaves in thy triumph — tliat I (the last son of forgotten 
monarchs) survey below, reservoirs of thine all-pervading 



+ "When Sir Walter Scott visited Pompeii with Sir William Gell, almost 
his onlv remark was the exclamation, u The City of the Dead — the City of 
the Dead!" 

t StabicB was indeed no longer a city, but it was still a favourite site for 
the villas of the rich. 



142 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

power and luxury, I curse as I behold ! The time shall 
come when Egypt shall be avenged ! when the barbarian's 
steed shall make his manger in the Groldcn House of 
Nero ! and thou that hast sown the wind with conquest 
shall reap the harvest in the whirlwind of desolation ! " 

As the Egyptian uttered a prediction which fate so fear- 
fully fulfilled, a more solemn and boding image of ill omen 
never occurred to the dreams of painter or of poet. The 
morning light, which can pale so wanly even the young 
cheek of beauty, gave his majestic and stately features 
almost the colours of the grave, with the dark hair falling 
massively around them, and the dark robes flowing long 
and loose, and the arm outstretched from that lof ty emi- 
nence, and the glittering eyes, fierce with a savage gladness, 
— half prophet and half fiend ! 

He turned his gaze from the city and the ocean ; before 
him lay the vineyards and meadows of the rich Campania. 
The gate and walls — ancient, half Pelasgic — of the city, 
seemed not to bound its extent. Villas and villages stretched 
on every side up the ascent of Vesuvius, not nearly then so 
steep or so lofty as at present. For as Rome itself is built 
on an exhausted volcano, so in similar securiiy the inhabi- 
tants of the South tenanted the green and vine-clad places 
around a volcano whose fires they believed at rest for ever. 
From the gate stretched the long street of tombs, various 
in size and architecture, by which, on that side, the city is 
yet approached. Above all, rose the cloud-capped summit 
of the Dread Mountain, with the shadows, now dark, now 
light, betraying the mossy caverns and ashy rocks, which 
testified the past conflagrations, and might have prophesied 
— but man is blind — that which was to come ! 

Difficult was it then and there to guess the causes why 
the tradition of the place wore so gloomy and stern a hue ; 
why, in those smiling plains, for miles around — to Baise 
and Misenum — the poets had imagined the entrance and 
thresholds of their hell — their Acheron, and their fabled 
Styx: why, in those Phlegrse,* now laughing with the 
vine, they placed the battles of the gods, and supposed the 
daring Titans to have sought the victory of heaven — save, 
indeed, that yet, in yon seared and blasted summit, fancy 
might think to read the characters of the Olympian 
thunderbolt. 

♦ Or, Phlegrai Campi; viz., scorched or burned fieldi. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 148 

But it was neither the rugged height of the still volcano, 
nor the fertility of the sloping fields, nor the melancholy 
avenue of tombs, nor the glittering villas of a polished and 
luxurious people, that now arrested the eye of the Egyptian. 
On one part of the landscape, the mountain of Vesuvius 
descended to the plain in a narrow and uncultivated ridge, 
broken here and there by jagged crags and copses of wild 
foliage. • At the base of this lay a marshy and unwhole- 
some pool ; and the intent gaze of Arbaces caught the out- 
line of some living form moving by the marshes, and 
stooping ever and anon as if to pluck its rank produce. 

" Ho ! " said he, aloud, " I have, then, another com- 
panion in these unworldly night-watches. The witch of 
Vesuvius is abroad. What ! doth she, too, as the credulous 
imagine, — doth she, too, learn the lore of the great stars P 
Hath she been uttering foul magic to the moon, or culling 
(as her pauses betoken) foul herbs from the venomous 
marsh ? "Well, I must see this fellow-labourer. Whoever 
strives to know learns that no human lore is despicable. 
Despicable only you — ye fat and bloated things — slaves of 
luxury— sluggards in thought— who, cultivating nothing 
but the barren sense, dream that its poor soil can produce 
alike the myrtle and the laurel. No, The wise only can 
enjoy— to us only true luxury is given, when mind, brain, 
invention, experience, thought, learning, imagination, all 
contribute like rivers to swell the seas of sense ! — 
lone ! " 

As Arbaces uttered that last and charmed word, his 
thoughts sunk at once into a more deep and profound 
channel. His steps paused ; he took not his eyes from the 
ground ; once or twice he smiled joyously, and then, as he 
turned v from his place of vigil, and sought his couch, he 
muttered, " If death frowns so near, I will say at least that 
I have lived — lone shall be mine ! " # 

The character of Arbaces was one of those intricate and 
varied webs, in which even the mind that sat within it was 
sometimes confused and perplexed. In him, the son of a 
fallen dynasty, the outcast of a sunken people, was that 
spirit of discontented pride, which ever rankles in one of 
a sterner mould, who feels himself inexorably shut from 
the sphere in which his fathers shone, and to which Nature 
as well as birth no less entitles himself. This sentiment 
hath no benevolence ; it wars with society, it sees enemies 



14,4 THE LAST? DAYS 0# POMPEII. 

in mankind. But with this sentiment did not go its com- 
mon companion, poyerty. Arbaces possessed wealth which 
equalled that of most of the Roman nobles ; and this 
enabled him to gratify to the utmost the passions which 
had no outlet in business or ambition. Travelling from 
clime to clime, and beholding still Rome everywhere, ho 
increased both his hatred of society and his passion for 
pleasure. He was in a vast prison, which, however, he 
could fill with the ministers of luxury. Ho could not 
escape from the prison, and his only object, therefore, was 
to give it the character of the palace. The Egyptians, 
from the earliest time, were devoted to the joys of sense ; 
Arbaces inherited both their appetite for sensuality and the 
glow of imagination which struck light from its rotten- 
ness. But still, unsocial in his pleasures as in his graver 
pursuits, and brooking neither superior nor equal, he ad- 
mitted few to his companionship, save the willing slaves of 
his profligacy. He was the solitary lord of a crowded 
harem ; but, with all, ho felt condemned to that satiety 
which is the constant curse of men whose intellect is above 
their pursuits, and that which once had been the impulse 
of passion froze down to the ordinance of custom. From 
the disappointments of sense he sought to raise himself by 
the cultivation of knowledge ; but as it was not his object 
to serve mankind, so he despised that knowledge which is 
practical and useful. His dark imagination loved to exer- 
cise itself in those more visionary and obscure researches 
which are ever the most delightful to a wayward and 
solitary mind, and to which he himself was invited by the 
daring pride of his disposition and the mysterious tradi- 
tions of his clime. Dismissing faith in the confused creeds 
of the heathen world, he reposed the greatest faith in the 
power of human wisdom. He did not know (perhaps no 
one in that age distinctly did) the limits which Nature 
imposes upon our discoveries. Seeing that the higher wo 
mount in knowledge the more wonders we behold, he ima- 
gined that Nature not only worked miracles in her ordinary 
course, but that she mignt, by the cabala of some master 
soul, be diverted from that course itself. Thus he pursued 
science, across her appointed boundaries, into tho land of 
perplexity and shadow. From the truths of astronomy he 
wandered into astrological fallacy ; from the secrets of 
chemistry he passed into the spectral labyrinth of magic ; 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 145 

and he who could be sceptical as to the power of the gods, 
was credulously superstitious as to the power of man. 

The cultivation of magic, carried at that day to a singular 
height among the would-be wise, was especially Eastern in 
its origin; it was alien to the early philosophy of the 
Greeks ; nor had it been received by them with favour 
until Ostanes, who accompanied the army of Xerxes, intro- 
duced, amongst the simple credulities of Hellas, the 
solemn superstitions of Zoroaster. Under the Roman 
emperors it had become, however, naturalised at Rome (a 
meet subject for Juvenal's fiery wit). Intimately connected 
with magic was the worship of Isis, and the Egyptian 
religion was the means by which was extended the devo- 
tion to Egyptian sorcery. The theurgic, or benevolent 
magic — the goetic, or dark and evil necromancy — were 
alike in pre-eminent repute during the first century of the 
Christian era ; and the marvels of Faustus are not com- 
parable to those of Apollonius.* Kings, courtiers, and 
sages, all trembled before the professors of the dread 
science. And not the least remarkable of liis tribe was 
the formidable and profound Arbaces. His fame and his 
discoveries were known to all the cultivators of magic ; 
they even survived himself. But it was not by his real 
name that he was honoured by the sorcerer and the sage : 
his real name, indeed, was unknown in Italy, for "Ar- 
baces " was not a genuinely Egyptian but a Median appel- 
lation, which, in the admixture and unsettlement of tho 
ancient races, had become common in the country of tho 
Nile ; and there were various reasons, not only of pride, 
but of policy (for in youth he had conspired against the 
majesty of Rome), which induced him to conceal his true 
name and rank. But neither by the name he had borrowed 
from the Mede, nor by that which in the colleges of Egypt 
would have attested his origin from kings, did the culti- 
vators of magic acknowledge the potent master. He 
received from their homage a more mystic appellation, and 
was long remembered in Magna Graecia and the Eastern 
plains by the name of " Hermes, the Lord of the Flaming 
Belt." His subtle speculations and boasted attributes of 
wisdom, recorded in various volumes, were among those 
tokens " of the curious arts " which the Christian converts 

* See note (a) at the end. 



146 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEH. 

most joyfully, yet most fearfully, burned at Ephesus, 
depriving posterity of the proofs of the cunning of the 
fiend. 

The conscience of Arbaces was solely of the intellect — 
it was awed by no moral laws. If man imposed these 
checks upon the herd, so he believed that man, by superior 
wisdom, could raise himself above them. " If [he reasoned] 
1 have' the genius to impose laws, have I not the right to 
command my own creations ? Still more, have I not the 
right to control — to evade — to scorn — the fabrications of 
yet meaner intellects than my own ? " Thus, if he were a* 
villain, he justified his villany by what ought to have 
made him virtuous — namely, the elevation of his 
capacities. 

Most men have more or less the passion for power ; in 
Arbaces that passion corresponded exactly to his character. 
It was not the passion for an external and brute authority. 
He desired not the purple and the fasces, the insignia of 
vulgar command. His youthful ambition once foiled and 
defeated, scorn had supplied its place — his pride, his con- 
tempt for Rome — Borne, which had become the synonym 
of the world (Rome, whose haughty name ho regarded 
with the same disdain as that which Rome herself lavished 
npon the barbarian), did not permit him to aspire to sway 
over others, for that would render him at once the tool or 
creature of the emperor. He, the Son of the Great Race 
of Rameses — he execute the orders of, and receive his 
power from, another! — the mere notion filled him with 
rage. But in rejecting an ambition that coveted nominal 
distinctions, he but indulged the more in the ambition to 
rule the heart. Honouring mental power as the greatest 
of earthly gifts, he loved to feel that power palpably in 
himself, by extending it over all whom he encountered. 
Thus had he ever sought the young — thus had he ever 
fascinated and controlled them. He loved to find subjects 
in men's souls — to rule over an invisible and immaterial 
empire ! — had he been less sensual and less wealthy, he 
might have sought to become the founder of a new religion. 
As it was, his energies were checked by his pleasures. Be- 
sides, however, the vague love of this moral sway (vanity 
so dear to sages !) he was influenced by a singular and 
dreamlike devotion to all that belonged to the mystic Land 
his ancestors had swayed. Although he disbelieved in her 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 147 

deities, he believed in the allegories they represented (or 
rather he interpreted those allegories anew). He loved to 
keep alive the worship of Egypt, because he thus maintained 
the shadow and the recollection of her power. He loaded, 
therefore, the altars of Osiris and of Isis with regal dona- 
tions, and was ever anxious to dignify their priesthood by 
new and wealthy converts. The vow taken — the priesthood 
embraced — he usually chose the comrades of his pleasures 
from those whom he had made his victims, partly because 
he thus secured to himself their secrecy — partly because he 
thus yet more confirmed to himself his peculiar power. 
Hence the motives of his conduct to Apsecides, strengthened 
as these were, in that instance, by his passion for lone. 

He had seldom lived long in one place ; but as he grew 
older, he grew more wearied of the excitement of new 
scenes, and he had sojourned among the delightful cities of 
Campania for a period which surprised even himself. In 
fact, his pride somewhat crippled his choice of residence. 
His unsuccessful conspiracy excluded him from those 
burning climes which he deemed of right his own hereditary 
possession, and which now cowered, supine and sunken, 
under the wings of the Roman eagle. Borne herself was 
hateful to his indignant soul ; nor did he love to find his 
riches rivalled by the minions of the court, and cast into 
comparative poverty by the mighty magnificence of the 
court itself. The Campanian cities proffered to him all 
that his nature craved — the luxuries of an unequalled 
climate — the imaginative refinements of a voluptuous civi- 
lisation. He was removed from the sight of a superior 
wealth ; he was without rivals to his riches ; he was free 
from the spies.of a jealous court. As long as he was rich, 
none pried into his conduct. He pursued the dark tenour 
of his way undisturbed and secure. 

It is the curse of sensualists never to love till the pleasures 

of sense begin to pall ; their ardent youth is frittered away 

in countless desires — their hearts are exhausted. So, ever 

chasing love, and taught by a restless imagination to 

exaggerate, perhaps, its charms, the Egyptian had spent all 

the glory of his years without attaining the object of his 

desires. The beauty of to-morrow succeeded the beauty of 

to-day, and the shadows bewildered him in his pursuit of 

the substance. When, two years before the present date, 

he beheld lone, he saw, for the first time, one whom he 

l 2 



143 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

imagined lie could love. He stood, then, npon that bridge 
of life, from which man sees before him distinctly a wasted 
youth on the one side, and the darkness of approaching age 
npon the other: a time in which we are more than ever 
anxious, perhaps, to secure to ourselves, ere it be yet too 
late, whatever we have been taught to consider necessaiy 
to the enjoyment of a life of which the brighter half is gone. 

"With an earnestness and a patience which he had never 
before commanded for his pleasures, Arbaces had devoted 
himself to win the heart of lone. It did not content him 
to love, he desired to be loved. In this hope he had watched 
the expanding youth of the beautiful Neapolitan ; and, 
knowing the influence that the mind possesses over those 
who are taught to cultivate the mind, he had contributed 
willingly to form the genius and enlighten the intellect of 
lone, in the hope that she would be thus able to appreciate 
what he felt would be his best claim to her affection ; viz., t 
a character which, however criminal and perverted, was 
rich in its original elements of strength and grandeur. 
When he felt that character to be acknowledged, he 
willingly allowed, nay, encouraged her, to mix among the 
idle votaries of pleasure, in the belief that her soul, fitted 
for higher commune, would miss the companionship of his 
own, and that, in comparison with others, she would learn 
to love herself. He had forgot, that as the sunflower to 
the sun, so youth turns to youth, until his jealousy of 
Glaucus suddenly apprised him of his error. From that 
moment, though, as we have seen, he knew not the extent 
of his danger, a fiercer and more tumultuous direction was 
given to a passion long controlled. Nothing kindles the 
fire of love like a sprinkling of the anxieties of jealousy ; 
it takes then a wilder, a more resistless flame ; it forgets 
its softness ; it ceases to be tender ; it assumes something 
of the intensity — of the ferocity — of hate. 

Arbaces resolved to lose no further time upon cautious 
and perilous preparations : he resolved to place an irre- 
vocable barrier between himself and his rivals : he resolved 
to possess himself of the person of lone : not that in his 
present love, so long nursed and fed by hopes purer than 
those of passion alone, he would have been contented with 
that mere possession. He desired the heart, the soul, no 
less than the beauty, of lone; but he imagined that once 
separated by a daring crime from the rest of mankind— 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 149 

once bound to lone by a tie that memory could not break, 
she would be driven to concentrate her thoughts in him — 
that his arts would complete his conquest, and that, 
according to the true moral of the Roman and the Sabine, 
the empire obtained by force would be cemented by gentler 
means. This resolution was yet more confirmed in him by 
his belief in the prophecies of the stars : they had long 
foretold to him this year, and even the present month, as the 
epoch of some dread disaster, menacing life itself. He was 
driven to a certain and limited date. He resolved to crowd, 
monarch-like, on his funeral pyre all that his soul held 
most dear. In his own words, if he were to die, he resolved 
to feel that he had lived, and that lone should be his own. 



CHAPTER IX. 

WHAT BECOMES OF IONE IN THE HOUSE OF ARBACES — THE FIRST 
SIGNAL OF THE WRATH OF THE DREAD FOE. 

When lone entered the spacious hall of the Egyptian, 
the same awe which had crept over her brother impressed 
itself also upon her : there seemed to her as to him some • 
thing ominous and warning in the still and mournful faces 
of those dread Theban monsters, whose majestic and 
passionless features the marble so well portrayed : 

"Their look, with the reach of past ages, was wise, 
And the soul of eternity thought in their eyes." 

The tall Ethiopian slave grinned as he admitted her, 
and motioned to her to proceed. Half-way up the hall she 
was met by Arbaces himself, in festive robes, which 
glittered with jewels. Although it was broad day without, 
the mansion, according to the practice of the luxurious, was 
artificially darkened, and the lamps cast their still and 
odour-giving light over the rich floors and ivory roofs. 

" Beautiful lone," said Arbaces, as he bent to touch her 
hand, " it is you that have eclipsed the day — it is your eyes 
that light up the halls — it is your breath which fills them 
with perfumes." 

"You must not talk to me thus," said lone, smiling: 
" you forget that your lore has sufficiently instructed my 
mind to render these graceful flatteries to my person 



150 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

unwelcome. It was yon who taught me to disdain 
adulation : will yon unteach your pupil ? " 

There was something so frank and charming in the 
manner of lone, as she thns spoke, that the Egyptian was 
more than ever enamoured, and more than ever disposed 
to renew the offence he had committed; he, however, 
answered quickly and gaily, and hastened to renew the 
conversation. 

He led her through the various chambers of a house, 
which seemed to contain to her eyes, inexperienced to other 
splendour than the minute elegance of Campanian cities, 
the treasures of the world. 

In the walls were set pictures of inestimable art, the 
lights shone pver statues of the noblest age of Greece. 
Cabinets of gems, each, cabinet itself a gem, filled up the 
interstices of the columns ; the most precious woods lined 
the thresholds and composed the doors ; gold and jewels 
seemed lavished all around. Sometimes they were alone in 
these rooms — sometimes they passed through silent rows 
of slaves, who, kneeling as she passed, proffered to her 
offerings of bracelets, of chains, of gems, which the Egyptian 
vainly entreated her to receive. 

" I have often heard,' ' said she, wonderingly, " that you 
were rich : but I never dreamed of the amount of your 
wealth." 

" "Would I could coin it all," replied the Egyptian, " into 
one crown, which I might place upon that snowy brow ! " 

" Alas ! the weight would crush me; I should be a second 
Tarpeia," answered lone, laughingly. 

" But thou dost not disdain riches, lone ! they know 
not what life is capable of who are not wealthy. Gold is 
the great magician of earth — it realises our dreams — it 
gives them the power of a god — there is a grandeur, a 
sublimity, in its possession ; it is the mightiest, yet the 
most obedient of our slaves." 

The artful Arbaces sought to dazzle the young Neapolitan 
by his treasures and his eloquence ; he sought to awaken in 
her the desire to be mistress of what she surveyed : he 
hoped that she would confound the owner with the posses- 
sions, and that the charms of his wealth would be reflected 
on himself. Meanwhile, lone was secretly somewhat 
uneasy at the gallantries which escaped from those lips, 
which, till lately, had seemed to disdain the common 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 161 

homage we pay to beauty : and with that delicate subtlety, 
which woman alone possesses, she sought to ward off shafts 
deliberately aimed, and to laugh or to talk away the meaning 
from his warming language. Nothing in the world is more 
pretty than that same species of defence ; it is the charm of 
the African necromancer who professed with a feather to 
turn aside the winds. 

The Egyptian was intoxicated and subdued by her grace 
even more than by her beauty : it was with difficulty that 
he suppressed his emotions ; alas ! the feather was only 
powerful against the summer breezes — it would be the sport 
of the storm. 

Suddenly, as they stood in one hall, which was surrounded 
by draperies of silver and white, the Egyptian clapped his 
hands, and as if by enchantment, a banquet rose from the 
floor — a couch or throne, with a crimson canopy, ascended 
simultaneously at the feet of lone, — and at the same instant 
from behind the curtains swelled the invisible and softest 
music. 

Arbaces placed himself at the feet of lone, — and children, 
young and beautiful as Loves, ministered to the feast. 

The feast was over, the music sank into a low and 
subdued strain, and Arbaces thus addressed his beautiful 
guest : — 

" Hast thou never in this dark and uncertain world — 
hast thou never aspired, my pupil, to look beyond — hast 
thou never wished to put aside the veil of futurity, and to 
behold on the shores of Fate the shadowy images of things 
to be ? For it is not the past alone that has its ghosts : 
each event to come has also its spectrum — its shade ; when 
the houc arrives, life enters it, the shadow becomes corporeal, 
and walks the world. Thus, in the land beyond the grave, 
are ever two impalpable and spiritual hosts — the things to 
be, the things that have been ! If by our wisdom we can 
penetrate that land, we see the one as the other, and learn, 
as I have learned, not alone the mysteries of the dead, but 
also the destiny of the living." 

" As thou hast learned! — Can wisdom attain so far ? " 

" Wilt thou prove my knowledge, lone, and behold tho 
representation of thine own fate ? It is a drama more 
striking than those of JEschylus : it is one I have prepared 
for thee, if thou wilt see tho shadows perform their part." 

The Neapolitan trembled ; she thought of Glaucus, and 



152 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

sighed as well as trembled; were their destinies to be 
united ? Half incredulous, half believing, half awed, half 
alarmed by the words of her strange host, she remained 
for some moments silent, and then answered, — 

" It may revolt— it may terrify ; the knowledge of the 
future will perhaps only embitter the present ! " 

" Not so, lone. I have myself looked upon thy future 
lot, and the ghosts of thy Future bask in the gardens of 
Elysium : amidst the asphodel and the rose they prepare 
the garlands of thy sweet destiny, and the Fates, so harsh 
to others, weave only for thee the web of happiness and 
love. Wilt thou then come and behold thy doom, so that 
thou mayest enjoy it beforehand ? " 

Again the heart of lone murmured "Glaucus;" she 
uttered a half -audible assent; the Egyptian rose, and 
taking her by the hand, he led her across the banquet- 
room — the curtains withdrew, as by magic hands, and the 
music broke forth in a louder and gladder strain ; they 
passed a row of columns, on either side of which fountains 
cast aloft their fragrant waters ; they descended by broad 
and easy steps into a garden. The eve had commenced ; 
the moon was already high in heaven, and those sweet 
flowers that sleep by day, and fill, with ineffable odours, 
the airs of night, were thickly scattered amidst alleys cut 
through the star-lit foliage ; — or, gathered in baskets, lay 
like offerings at the feet of the frequent statues that 
gleamed along their path. 

" Whither wouldst thou lead me, Arbaccs ? " said lone, 
wonderingly. 

"But yonder," said he, pointing to a small building 
which stood at the end of the vista. "It is a temple 
consecrated to the Fates — our rites require such holy 
ground." 

They passed into a narrow hall, at the end of which hung 
a sable curtain. Arbaces lifted it; lone entered, and 
found herself in total darkness. 

" Be not alarmed," said the Egyptian, " the light will 
rise instantly." While he so spoke, a soft, and warm, and 
gradual light diffused itself around ; as it spread over each 
object, lone perceived that she was in an apartment of 
moderate size, hung everywhere with black ; a couch with 
draperies of the same hue was beside her. In the centre 
of the room was a small altar, on which stood a tripod of 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII 153 

bronze. At one side, upon a lofty column of granite, wns 
a colossal head of the blackest marble, which she perceived, 
by the crown of wheat-ears that encircled the brow, repre- 
sented the great Egyptian goddess. Arbaces stood before 
the altar: he had laid his garland on tho shrine, and 
seemed occupied with pouring into tho tripod the contents 
of a brazen vase ; suddenly from that tripod leaped into 
life a blue, quick, darting, irregular flame ; tho Egyptian 
drew back to the side of lone, and muttered some words 
in a language unfamiliar to her ear; tho curtain at tho 
back of the altar waved tremulously to and fro — it parted 
slowly, and in the aperture which was thus made, lone be- 
held an indistinct and pale landscape, which gradually 
grew brighter and clearer as she gazed ; at length she dis- 
covered plainly trees, and rivers, and meadows, and all tho 
beautiful diversity of the richest earth. At length, before 
the landscape, a dim shadow glided ; it rested opposite to 
lone ; slowly the same charm seemed to operate upon it as 
over the rest of the scene ; it took form and shape, and 
lo ! — in its feature and in its form lone beheld herself ! 

Then the scene behind the spectre faded away, and was 
succeeded by the representation of a gorgeous palace ; a 
throne was raised in the centre of its hall — tho dim forms 
of slaves and guards were ranged around it, and a pale 
hand held over tho throne the likeness of a diadem. 

A new actor now appeared ; he was clothed from head 
to foot in a dark robe — his face was concealed — ho knelt 
at the feet of tho shadowy lone — ho clasped her hand — ho 
pointed to the throne, as if to invito her to ascend it. 

The Neapolitan's heart beat violently. " Shall tho 
shadow disclose itself ? " whispered a voice besido her — tho 
voice of Arbaces. 

" Ah, yes ! " answered lone, softly. 

Arbaces raised his hand — tho spectre seemed to drop 
the mantle that concealed its form — and lone shrieked — 
it was Arbaces himself that thus knelt before her. 

" This is, indeed, thy fate ! " whispered again tho 
Egyptian's voice in her ear. " And thou art destined to 
be the bride of Arbaces." 

lone started — the black curtain closed over the phantas- 
magoria : and Arbaces himself — tho real, the living Arbaces 
— was at her feet. 

"Ob, Iono!" said he, passionately gazing upon her; 



154 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

" listen to one who has long struggled vainly with his love. 
I adore thee ! The Fates do not lie — thou art destined to 
be mine — I have sought the world around, and found none 
like thee. From my youth upward, I have sighed for such 
as thou art. I have dreamed till I saw thee — I wake, and 
I behold thee. Turn not away from me, lone ; think not 
of me as thou hast thought ; I am not that being — cold, 
insensate, and morose, which I have seemed to thee. 
Never woman had lover so devoted — so passionate as I 
will be to lone. Do not struggle in my clasp: see — I 
release thy hand. Take it from me if thou wilt-— well, be 
it so ! But do not reject me, lone — do not rashly reject — 
judge of thy power over him whom thou canst thus trans- 
form. I, who never knelt to mortal being, kneel to thee. 
I, who have commanded fate, receive from thee my own. 
lone, tremble not, thou art my queen — my goddess : — be 
my bride ! All the wishes thou canst form shall be ful- 
filled. „ The ends of the earth shall minister to thee— 
pomp, power, luxury, shall be thy slaves. Arbaces shall 
have no ambition, save the pride of obeying thee. lone, 
turn upon me those eyes — shed upon me thy smile. Dark 
is my soul when thy face is hid from it : — shine over me, 
my sun — my heaven — my daylight ! — lone, lone — do not 
reject my love ! " 

Alone, and in the power of this singular and fearful 
man, lone was not yet terrified ; the respect of his lan- 
guage, the softness of his voice, reassured her ; and, in her 
own purity, she felt protection. But she was confused — 
astonished : it was some moments before she could recover 
the power of reply. 

" Rise, Arbaces ! " said she at length ; and she resigned 
to him once more her hand, which she as quickly withdrew 
again, when she felt upon it the burning pressure of his 
lips. " Ease ! and if thou art serious, if thy language be in 
earnest " 

" Jf!" said ho, tenderly. 

" Well, then, listen to me : you have been my guardian, 
my friend, my monitor ; for this new character I was not 
prepared ; — think not," she added quickly, as she saw his 
dark eyes glitter with the fierceness of his passion — 
" think not, that I scorn — that I am untouched — that I 
am not honoured by this homage ; but, say — canst thou 
hear me calmly ? " 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 155 

" Ay, though thy words were lightning, and could blast 
me!" 

" I love cmother I " said lone, blushingly, but in a firm 
voice. 

" By the gods — by hell ! " shouted Arbaces, rising to his 
fullest height ; " dare not tell me that— dare not mock me : 
— it is impossible ! — Whom hast thou seen — whom known ! 
Oh, lone ! it is thy woman's invention, thy woman's art 
that speaks — thou wouldst gain time : I have surprised — I 
have terrified thee. Do with me as thou wilt— say that 
thou lovest not me.; but say not that thou lovest another ! " 

" Alas ! " began lone ; and then, appalled before his 
sudden and unlooked-for violence, she burst into tears. 

Arbaces came nearer to her — his breath glowed fiercely 
on her cheek ; he wound his arms round her — she sprang 
from his embrace. In the struggle a tablet fell from her 
bosom on the ground : Arbaces perceived, and seized it- 
it was the letter that morning received from Glaucus. lone 
sank upon the couch, half dead with terror. 

Rapidly the eyes of Arbaces ran over the writing ; the 
Neapolitan did not dare to gaze upon him : she did not see 
the deadly paleness that came over his countenance — she 
marked not his withering frown, nor the quivering of his 
lip, nor the convulsions that heaved his breast. He read 
it to the end, and then, as the letter fell from his hand, he 
said, in a voice of deceitful calmness, — 

" Is the writer of this the man thou lovest ? " 

lone sobbed, but answered not. 

" Speak ! " he rather shrieked than said. 

" It is— it is ! " 

"And his name — it is written here — his name is 
Glaucus ! " 

lone, clasping her hands, looked round as for succour or 
escape. 

" Then hear me," said Arbaces, sinking his voice into a 
whisper ; " thou shalt go to thy tomb rather than to his 
arms ! What ! thinkest thou Arbaces will brook a rival 
such as this puny Greek ? What ! thinkest thou that he 
has watched the fruit ripen, to yield it to another ! Pretty 
fool — no ! Thou art mine — all — only mine : and thus — 
thus I seize and claim thee ! " As he spoke, he caught 
lone in his arms ; and, in that ferocious grasp, was all the 
energy — less of love than of revenge. 



156 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

But to lone despair gave supernatural strength ; she 
again tore herself from him — she rushed to that part of 
the room by which she had entered — she half withdrew the 
curtain — he seized her — again she broke away from him — 
and fell, exhausted, and with a loud shriek, at the base of 
the column which supported the head of the Egyptian 
goddess. Arbaces paused for a moment, as if to re- 
gain his breath; and then once more darted upon his 
prey. 

At that instant the curtain was rudely torn aside, the 
Egyptian felt a fierce and strong grasp upon his shoulder. 
He turned — he beheld before him the flashing eyes of 
Glaucus, and the pale, worn, but menacing, countenance 
of Apsecides. " Ah," he muttered, as he glared from one 
to the other, " what Fury hath sent ye hither ? " 

" Ate," answered Glaucus ; and he closed at once with 
the Egyptian. Meanwhile, Apsecides raised his sister, now 
lifeless, from the ground; his strength, exhausted by a 
mind long over-wrought, did not suffice to bear her away, 
light and delicate though her shape : he placed her, there- 
fore, on the couch, and stood over her with a brandishing 
knife, watching the contest between Glaucus and the 
Egyptian, and ready to plunge his weapon in the bosom of 
Arbaces should he be victorious in the struggle. There 
is, perhaps, nothing on earth so terrible as the naked and 
nnarmed contest of animal strength, no weapon but those 
which Nature supplies to rage. Both the antagonists were 
now locked in each other's grasp — the hand of each seek- 
ing the throat of the other — the face drawn back — the 
fierce eyes flashing — the muscles strained — the veins 
8 welled — the lips apart — the teeth set ; — both were strong 
beyond the ordinary power of men, both animated by re- 
lentless wrath ; they coiled, they wound, around each 
other ; they rocked to and fro — they swayed from end to 
end of their confined arena : — they uttered cries of ire and 
revenge ; — they were now before the altar — now at the 
base of the column where the struggle had commenced : 
they drew back for breath — Arbaces leaning against ihe 
column — Glaucus a few paces apart. 

" O ancient goddess ! " exclaimed Arbaces, clasping the 
column, and raising his eyes toward the sacred image it 
supported, " protect thy chosen, — proclaim thy vengeance 
against this thing of an upstart creed, who with sacri- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 157 

legions violence profanes thy rcsting-placo and assails thy 
servant." 

As he spoke, the still and vast features of the goddess 
seemed suddenly to glow with life ; through the black 
marble, as through a transparent veil, flushed luminously 
a crimson and burning hue ; around the head played and 
darted coruscations of livid lightning ; the eyes became 
like balls of lurid fire, and seemed fixed in withering and 
intolerable wrath upon the countenance of the Greek. 
Awed and appalled by this sudden and mystic answer to 
the prayer of his foe, and not free from the hereditary 
superstitions of his race, the cheeks of Glaucus paled be- 
fore that strange and ghastly animation of the marble, — 
his knees knocked together, — he stood, seized with a 
divine panic, dismayed, aghast, half unmanned before his 
foe ! Arbaces gave him not breathing time to recover his 
stupor : " Die, wretch ! " he shouted, in a voice of thunder, 
as he sprang upon the Greek ; " the Mighty Mother claims 
thee as a living sacrifice ! " Taken thus by surprise in 
the first consternation of his superstitious fears, the Greek 
lost his footing — the marble floor was as smooth as glass 
— he slid — he fell. Arbaces planted his foot on the breast 
of his fallen foe. Apoecides, taught by his sacred profes- 
sion, as well as by his knowledge of Arbaces, to distrust 
all miraculous interpositions, had not shared the dismay of 
his companion ; he rnshed forward, — his knife gleamed in 
the air, — the watchful Egyptian caught his arm as it de- 
scended, — one wrench of his powerful hand tore the 
weapon from the weak grasp of the priest, — one sweeping 
blow stretched him to the earth — with a loud and exulting 
yell Arbaces brandished the knife on high. Glaucus gazed 
upon his impending fate with unwinking eyes, and in the 
stern and scornful resignation of a fallen gladiator, when, 
at that awful instant, the floor shook under them with a 
rapid and convulsive throe, — a mightier spirit than that of 
the Egyptian was abroad ! — a giant and crushing power, 
before which sunk into sudden impotence his passion and 
his arts. It woke — it stirred — that Dread Demon of the 
Earthquake — laughing to scorn alike the magic of human 
guile and the malice of human wrath. As a Titan, on 
whom the mountains are piled, it roused itself from the 
sleep of years, — it moved on its tortured couch, — the 
caverns below groaned and trembled beneath the motion 



158 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

of its limbs. In the moment of his vengeance and his 
power, the self -prized demigod was humbled to his real 
clay. Far and wide along the soil went a hoarse and 
rumbling sound, — the curtains of the chamber shook as at 
the blast of a storm, — the altar rocked — the tripod reeled, 
and, high over the place of contest, the column trembled 
and waved from side to side, — the sable head of the god- 
dess tottered and fell from its pedestal; — and as the 
Egyptian stooped above his intended victim, right upon 
his bended form, right between the shoulder and the neck, 
struck the marble mass ! the shock stretched him like the 
blow of death, at once, suddenly, without sound or motion, 
or semblance of life, upon the floor, apparently crushed by 
the very divinity he had impiously animated and invoked ! 
" The Earth nas preserved her children," said Glaucus, 
staggering to his feet. " Blessed be the dread convulsion ! 
Let us worship the providence of the gods ! " He assisted 
Apeecides to rise, and then turned upward the face of 
Arbaces ; it seemed locked as in death ; blood gushed from 
the Egyptian's lips over his glittering robes; he fell heavily 
from the arms of Glaucus, and the red stream trickled 
slowly along the marble. Again the earth shook beneath 
their feet ; they were forced to cling to each other ; the 
convulsion ceased as suddenly as it came ; they tarried no 
longer ; Glaucus bore lone lightly in his arms, and they 
fled from the unhallowed spot. But scarce had they 
entered the garden than they were met on all sides by 
flying and disordered groups of women and slaves, whose 
festive and glittering garments contrasted in mockery the 
solemn terror of the hour ; they did not appear to heed 
the strangers, — they were occupied only with their own 
fears. After the tranquillity of sixteen years, that burning 
and treacherous soil again menaced destruction ; they 
uttered but one cry, " the earthquake ! the earthquake ! " 
and passing unmolested from the midst of them, Apaecides 
and his companions, without entering the house, hastened 
down one of the alleys, passed a small open gate, and there, 
sitting on a little mound over which spread the gloom of 
the dark green aloes, the moonlight fell on the bended 
figure of the blind girl, — she was weeping bitterly. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 159 



BOOK in. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE FOBUM OF THE POMPEIANS ; — THE FIRST RUDE MACHINERY 
BY WHICH THE NEW ERA OF THE WORLD WAS WROUGHT. 

It was early noon, and the forum was crowded alike 
with the busy and the idle. As at Paris at this day, so at 
that time in the cities of Italy, men lived almost wholly ont 
of doors : tho public buildings, the forum, the porticos, the 
baths, the temples themselves, might be considered their 
real homes ; it was no wonder that they decorated so gor- 
geously these favourite places of resort, — they felt for them 
a sort of domestic affection as well as a public pride. 
And animated was, indeed, the aspect of the forum of 
Pompeii at that time ! Along its broad pavement, com- 
posed of large flags of marble, were assembled various 
groups, conversing in that energetic fashion which appro- 
priates a gesture to every word, and which is still the 
characteristic of the people of the south. Here, in seven 
stalls on one side the colonnade, sat the money-changers, 
with their glittering heaps before them, and merchants and 
seamen in various costumes crowding round their stalls. 
On one side, several men in long togas * were seen bustling 
rapidly up to a stately edifice, where the magistrates ad- 
ministered justice ; — these were the lawyers, active, chatter- 
ing, joking, and punning, as you may find them at this 
day in Westminster. In the centre of the space, pedestals 
supported various statues, of which the most remarkable 
was the stately form of Cicero. Around the court ran a 
regular and symmetrical colonnade of Doric architecture ; 
and there several, whose business drew them early to the 
place, were taking the slight morning repast which made 
an Italian breakfast, talking vehemently on the earthquake 

* For the lawyers, and the clients, when attending on their patrons, 
retained the toga after it had fallen into disuse among the rest of tho 
citizens. 



ICO THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

of the preceding night as they dipped pieces of bread in 
their cops of dilated wine. In the open space, too. you 
might perceive various petty traders exercising the art3 of 
their calling. Here one man was holding out ribands to a 
fair dame from the country ; another man was vaunting to 
a stout farmer the excellence of his shoes ; a third, a kind 
of stall-restaurateur, still so common in the Italian cities, 
was supplying many a hungry mouth with hot messes from 
his small and itinerant stove, while — contrast stronsrlr 
typical of the mingled bustle and intellect of the time — 
close by, a schoolmaster was expounding to his puzzled 
pupils the elements of the Latin grammar.* A gallery 
above the portico, which was ascended by small wooden 
staircases, had also its throng ; though, as here the imme- 
diate business of the place was mainly carried on, its 
groups wore a more quiet and serious air. 

Every now and then the crowd below respectfnlly gave 
way as some senator swept along to the Temple of Jupiter 
(which filled up one side of the forum, and was the 
senators' hall of meeting), nodding with ostentatious con- 
descension to such of his friends or clients as he distin- 
guished amongst the throng. Mingling amidst the gay 
dresses of the better orders vou saw the hardv forms of 
the neighbouring farmers, as they made their way to the 
public granaries. Hard by the temple you caught a view 
of the triumphal arch, and the long street beyond swarming 
with inhabitants ; in one of the niches of the arch a 
fountain played, cheerily sparkling in the sunbeams ; and 
above its cornice rose the bronzed and equestrian statue of 
Caligula, strongly contrasting the gay summer skies. Be- 
hind the stalls of the money-changers was that building 
now called the Pantheon ; and a crowd of the poorer 
Pompeians passed through the small vestibule which ad- 
mitted to the interior, with panniers under their arms, 
pressing on towards a platform, placed between two 
columns, where such provisions as the priests had rescued 
from sacrifice were exposed for sale. 

* In the Museum at Kaple* is a picture little known, bat representing one 
aide of the forum at Pompeii as then existing, to which I am much indebted 
in the present description. It may aflbrd a learned consolation to my 
younger readers to know that the ceremony of M oi t tt mf (more honoured in 
the breach than the observance) is of high antiquity, and seems to hare 
been performed with all legitimate and public rigour in the forum of 
Pompeii 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 161 

At one of the public edifices appropriated to the business 
of the city, workmen were employed upon the columns, and 
yon heard the noise of their labonr every now and then 
rising above the hum of the multitude : — the columns are 
unfinished to this day ! 

All, then, united, nothing could exceed in variety the 
costumes, the ranks, the manners, the occupations of the 
crowd ; — nothing could exceed the bustle, the gaiety, the 
animation, the flow and flush of life all around. You saw 
there all the myriad signs of a heated and feverish civilisa- 
tion, — where pleasure and commerce, idleness and labour, 
avarice and ambition, mingled in one gulf their motley, 
rushing, yet harmonious, streams. 

Pacing the steps of the Temple of Jupiter, with folded 
arms, and a knit and contemptuous brow, stood a man of 
about fifty years of age. His dress was remarkably plain, 
— not so much from its material, as from the absence of 
all those ornaments which were worn by the Pompeians of 
every rank, — partly from the love of show, partly, also, 
because they were chiefly wrought into those shapes deemed 
most efficacious in resisting the assaults of magic and the 
influence of the evil eye.* His forehead was high and 
bald ; the few locks that remained at the back of the head 
were concealed by a sort of cowl, which made a part of his 
cloak, to be raised or lowered at pleasure, and was now 
drawn half-way over the head, as a protection from the 
rays of the sun. The colour of his garments was brown, 
no popular hue with the Pompeians ; all the usual admix- 
tures of scarlet or purple seemed carefully excluded* His 
belt, or girdle, contained a small receptacle for ink, which 
hooked on to the girdle, a stilus (or implement of writing), 
and tablets of no ordinary size. What was rather remark- 
able, the cincture held no purse, which was the almost 
indispensable appurtenance of the girdle, even when that 
purse had the misfortune to be empty ! 

It was not often that the gay and egotistical Pompeians 
busied themselves with observing the countenances and 
actions of their neighbours ; but there was that in the lip 
and eye of this bystander so remarkably bitter and dis- 
dainful, as he surveyed the religious procession sweeping 
up the stairs of the temple, that it could not fail to arrest 
the notice of many. 

* See note (a) at the end. 

M 



162 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

u Who is yon cynic ? " asked a merchant of his com- 
panion, a jeweller. 

" It is Olinthus," replied the jeweller ; " a reputed 
Nazarene." 

The merchant shuddered. " A dread sect ! " said he, in 
a whispered and fearful voice. " It is said, that when they 
meet at nights they always commence their ceremonies by 
the murder of a new-born babe : they profess a community 
of goods, too, — the wretches! A community of goods! 
What would become of merchants, or jewellers either, if 
such notions were in fashion ? " 

" That is very true," said the jeweller ; " besides, they wear 
no jewels, — they mutter imprecations when they see a 
serpent ; and at Pompeii all our ornaments are serpentine." 

" Do but observe," said a third, who was a fabricant of 
bronze, " how yon Nazarene scowls at the piety of the 
sacrificial procession. He is murmuring curses on the 
temple, be sure. Do you know, Celcinus, that this fellow, 
passing by my shop the other day, and seeing me employed 
on a statue of Minerva, told me with a frown that, bad it 
been marble, he would have broken it ; but the bronze was 
too strong for him. * Break a goddess ! ' said I. ' A 
goddess ! ' answered the atheist ; ' it is a demon, — an evil 
spirit ! ' Then he passed on his way cursing. Are such 
things to be borne ? What marvel that the earth heaved 
so fearfully last night, anxious to reject the atheist from 
her bosom ? — An atheist do I say ? worse still — a scorner 
of the Fine Arts ! Woe to us fabricants of bronze, if such 
fellows as this give the law to society ! " 

"These are the incendiaries that burnt Borne under 
Nero," groaned the jeweller. 

While such were the friendly remarks provoked by the 
air and faith of the Nazarene, Olinthus himself became 
sensible of the effect he was producing ; he turned his eyes 
round, and observed the intent faces of the accumulating 
throng, whispering as they gazed ; and surveying them for 
a moment with an expression, first of defiance and after- 
wards of compassion, he gathered his cloak round him and 
passed on, muttering audibly, " Deluded idolators ! — did 
not last night's convulsion warn ye ? Alas ! how will ye 
meet the last day ? " 

The crowd that heard these boding words gave them 
; f "" • i- tit T'.t'-rpretat jons, according to their different shades 



THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 163 

of ignorance and of fear; all, however, concurred in 
imagining them to convey some awful imprecation. They 
regarded the Christian as the enemy of mankind; the 
epithets they lavished upon him, of which " Atheist " was 
the most favoured and frequent, may serve, perhaps, to 
warn us, believers of that same creed now triumphant, how 
we indulge the persecution of opinion Olinthus then under- 
went, and how we apply to those whose notions differ from 
our own the terms at that day lavished on the fathers of 
our faith. 

As Olinthus stalked through the crowd, and gained one 
of the more private places of egress from the forum, he 
perceived gazing upon him a pale and earnest countenance, 
which he was not slow to recognise. 

Wrapped in a pallium that partially concealed his sacred 
robes, the young Apaecides surveyed the disciple of that new 
and mysterious creed, to which at one time he had been 
half a convert 

" Is he, too, an impostor ? Does this man, so plain and 
simple in life, in garb, in mien — does he too, like Artaccs, 
make austerity the robe of the sensualist ? Does the veil 
of Vesta hide the vices of the prostitute ? " 

Olinthus, accustomed to men of all classes, and combining 
with the enthusiasm of his faith a profound experience of 
his kind, guessed, perhaps, by the index of the countenance, 
something of what passed within the breast of the priest. 
He met the survey of Apsecidcs with a steady eye, and a 
brow of serene and open candour. 

" Peace be with thee ! " said he, saluting Apsecidcs. 

" Peace ! " echoed the priest, in so hollow a tone that it 
went at once to the heart of the Nazarene. 

" In that wish," continued Olinthus, " all good things are 
combined — without virtue thou canst not have peace. Like 
the rainbow, Peace rests upon the earth, but its arch is lost 
in heaven. Heaven bathes it in hues of light — it springs 
up amidst tears and clouds, — it is a reflection of the Eternal 
Sun, — it is an assurance of calm — it is the sign of a great 
covenant between Man and God. Such peace, O young 
man ! is the smile of the soul ; it is an emanation from the 
distant orb of immortal light. Peace be with you ! " 

" Alas ! " began Aptecides, when he caught the gaze of 
the curious loiterers, inquisitive to know what could possibly 
be the theme of conversation between a reputed Nazarene 

M 2 



164 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

and a priest of Isis. He stopped short, and then added in 
a low tone — " We cannot converse here, I will follow thee 
to the banks of the river ; there is a walk which at this 
time is usually deserted and solitary." 

Olinthns bowed assent. He passed throngh the streets 
with a hasty step, but a quick and observant eye. Every 
now and then he exchanged a significant glance, a slight 
sign, with some passenger, whose garb usually betokened 
the wearer to belong to the humbler classes ; for Christianity 
was in this the type of all other and less mighty revolutions 
— the grain of mustard-seed was in the hearts of the lowly. 
Amidst the huts of poverty and labour, the vast stream 
which afterwards poured its broad waters beside the cities 
and palaces of earth took its neglected source. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE NOONDAY EXCURSION ON THE CAMPANIAN SEAS. 

" But tell me, Glaucus," said lone, as they glided down 
the rippling Sarnus in their boat of pleasure, " how earnest 
thou with Apeecides to my rescue from that bad man ? " 

" Ask Nydia yonder," answered the Athenian, pointing 
to the blind girl, who sat at a little distance from them, 
leaning pensively over her lyre : — " she must have thy 
thanks, not we. It seems that she came to my house, and, 
finding me from home, sought thy brother in his temple ; ho 
accompanied her to Arbaces ; on their way they encountered 
me, with a company of friends, whom thy kind letter had 
given me a spirit cheerful enough to join. Nydia's quick 
ear detected my voice — a few words sufficed to make me 
the companion of Apaecides ; I told not my associates why 
I left them — could I trust thy name to their light tongues 
and gossiping opinion ? — Nydia led us to the garden gate, 
by which we afterwards bore thee — we entered, and were 
about to plunge into the mysteries of that evil house, when we 
heard thy cry in another direction. Thou knowest the rest." 

lone blushed deeply. She then raised her eyes to those 
of Glaucus, and he felt all the thanks she could not utter. 
"Come hither, my Nydia," said she, tenderly to the 
Thessalian. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 165 

" Did I not tell thee that thou shouldst be my sister and 
friend ? Hast thou not already been more ? — my guardian, 
my preserver ! " 

"It is nothing," answered Nydia coldly, and without 
stirring. 

"Ah! I forgot," continued lone, — "I should come to 
thee ; " and she moved along the benches till she reached the 
place where Nydia sat, and flinging her arms caressingly 
round her, covered her cheeks with kisses. 

Nydia was that morning paler than her wont, and her 
countenance grew even more wan and colourless as she 
submitted to the embrace of the beautiful Neapolitan. 
" But how earnest thou, Nydia," whispered lone, " to surmise 
so faithfully the danger I was exposed to ? Didst thou 
know aught of the Egyptian ? " 

" Yes, I knew of his vices." 

" And how ? " 

" Noble lone, I have been a slave to the vicious — those 
whom I served were his minions." 

" And thou hast entered his house since thou knewest so 
well that private entrance ? " 

" I have played on my lyre to Arbaces," answered the 
Thessalian, with embarrassment. 

" And thou hast escaped the contagion from which thou 
hast saved lone ! " returned the Neapolitan, in a voice too 
low for the ear of Glaucus. 

" Noble lone, I have neither beauty nor station ; I am a 
child, and a slave, and blind. The despicable are ever 
safe." 

It was with a pained, and proud, and indignant tone that 
Nydia made this humble reply ; and lone felt that she only 
wounded Nydia by pursuing the subject. She remained 
silent, and the bark now floated into the sea. 

"Confess that I was right, lone," said Glaucus, "in 
prevailing on thee not to waste this beautiful noon in thy 
chamber — confess that I was right." 

" Thou wert right, Glaucus," said Nydia, abruptly. 

" The dear child speaks for thee," returned the Athenian. 

" But permit mo to move opposite to thee, or our light 
boat will be overbalanced." 

So saying, he took his seat exactly opposite to lone, and 
leaning forward, he fancied that it was her breath, and not 
the winds of summer, that flung fragrance over the sea. 



166 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

"Thou wert to tell me," said Glaucus, "why for bo 
many days thy door was closed to me ? " 

" Oh, think of it no more ! " answered lone, quickly ; " I 
gave my ear to what I now know was the malice of 
slander." 

" And my slanderer was the Egyptian P " 

Ione's silence assented to the question. 

" His motives are sufficiently obvious." 

" Talk not of him," said lone, covering her face with her 
hands, as if to shut out his very thought. 

" Perhaps ho may be already by the banks of the slow 
Styx," resumed Glaucus; "yet in that case we should 
probably have heard of his death. Thy brother, methinks, 
hath felt the dark influence of his gloomy soul. When wo 
arrived last night at thy house he left me abruptly. Will 
he ever vouchsafe to be my friend ? " 

" He is consumed with some secret care," answered lone, 
tearfully. " Would that we could lure him from himself ! 
Let us join in that tender office." 

" He shall be my brother," returned the Greek. 

" How calmly," said lone, rousing herself from the gloom 
into which her thoughts of Apeecides had plunged her — 
"how calmly the clouds seem to repose in heaven; and 
yet you tell me, for I knew it not myself, that the earth 
shook beneath us last night." 

" It did, and more violently, they say, than it has done 
since the great convulsion sixteen years ago : the land wo 
live in yet nurses mysterious terror ; and the reign of Pluto, 
which spreads beneath our burning fields, seems rent with 
unseen commotion. Didst thou not feel the earth quake, 
Nydia, where thou wert seated last night ? and was it not 
the fear that it occasioned thee that made thee weep ? " 

" I felt the soil creep and heave beneath me, like some 
monstrous serpent," answered Nydia; "but as I saw 
nothing, I did not fear : I imagined the convulsion to be 
a spell of the Egyptian's. They say he has power over the 
elements." 

" Thou art a Thessalian, my Nydia," replied Glaucus, 
" and hast a national right to believe in magic." 

" Magic ! — who doubts it ? " answered Nydia, simply : 
" dost thou ? " 

" Until last night (when a necromantic prodigy did 
indeed appal me), methinks I was not credulous in any 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 167 

other magic save that of love ! " said Glaucus, in a tremulous 
voice, and fixing his eyes on lone. 

" Ah ! " said Nydia, with a sort of shiver, and she awoke 
mechanically a few pleasing notes from her lyre ; the sound 
suited well the tranquillity of the waters, and the sunny 
stillness of the noon. 

" Play to us, dear Nydia," said Glaucus, — " play, and 
give us one of thine old Thessalian songs : whether it be of 
magic or not, as thou wilt — let it, at least, be of love ! " 

" Of love ! " repeated Nydia, raising her largo, wandering 
eyes, that ever thrilled those who saw them with a mingled 
fear and pity ; you could never familiarise yourself to their 
aspect: so strange did it seem that those dark wild orbs 
were ignorant of the day, and either so fixed was their deep 
mysterious gaze, or so restless and perturbed their glance, 
that you felt, when you encountered them, that same vague, 
and chilling, and half-preternatural impression, which 
comes over you in the presence of the insane, — of those who, 
having a life outwardly like your own, have a life within 
life — dissimilar — unsearchable — unguessed ! 

" Will you that I should sing of love ? " said she, fixing 
those eyes upon Glaucus. 

" Yes," replied he, looking down. 

She moved a little way from the arm of lone, still cast 
round her, as if that soft embrace embarrassed ; and placing 
her light and graceful instrument on her knee, after a short 
prelude, she sang the following strain : — 

NYDIA* S LOVE-SONG. > 

I. 

" The Wind and the Beam loved the Rose, 
And the Rose loved one : 
For who recks the wind wnere it blows ? 
Or loves not the sun ? 

II. 

None knew whence the humble Wind stole, 

Poor sport of the skies — 
None dreamt that the Wind had a soul, 

In its mournful sighs ! 

m. 

Oh, happy Beam ! how canst thou prove 

That Dright love of thine ? 
In ihy lteht is the proof of thy love, 

Thou hast but — to shine ! 



168 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

IV. 

How its lore can the Wind reveal ? 
Unwelcome its sigh ; 

Mute — mute to its Rose let it steal- 
Its proof is — to die ! " 

"Thou singest but sadly, sweet girl," said Glaucus; 
" thy youth only feels as yet the dark shadow of Love ; far 
other inspiration doth he wake, when he himself bursts and 
brightens upon us." 

" I sing as I was taught," replied Nydia, sighing. 

" Thy master was love-crossed then — try thy hand at a 
gayer air. Nay, girl, give the instrument to me." As 
Nydia obeyed, her hand touched his, and, with that slight 
touch, her breast heaved — her cheek flushed. lone and 
Glancns, occupied with each other, perceived not those 
signs of strange and premature emotions, which preyed 
upon a heart that, nourished by imagination, dispensed 
with hope. 

And now, broad, blue, bright before them, spread that 
halcyon sea, fair as at this moment, seventeen centuries 
from that date, I behold it rippling on the same divinest 
shores. Clime that yet enervates with a soft and Circean 
spell — that moulds us insensibly, mysteriously, into harmony 
with thyself, banishing the thought of austerer labour, the 
voices of wild ambition, the contests and the roar of life ; 
filling us with gentle and subduing dreams, making necessary 
to our nature that which is its least earthly portion, so that 
the very air inspires us with the yearning and thirst of 
love. Whoever visits thee seems to leave- earth and its 
ftarsh cares behind — to enter by the Ivory gate into the 
Land of Dreams. The young and laughing Hours of the 
present — the Hours, those children of Saturn, which he 
hungers ever to devour, seem snatched from his grasp. 
The past — the future — are forgotten; we enjoy but the 
breathing time. Flower of the world's garden — Fountain 
of Delight — Italy of Italy — beautiful, benign Campania ! — 
vain were, indeed, the Titans, if on this spot they yet 
struggled for another heaven ! Here, if God meant this 
working-day life for a perpetual holiday, who would not 
sigh to dwell for ever — asking nothing, hoping nothing, 
fearing nothing, while thy skies shine over him — while thy 
seas sparkle at his feet — while thine air brought him sweet 
messages from the violet and the orange — and while the 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 169 

heart, resigned to — beating with — but one emotion, could 
find the lips and the eyes, which flatter it (vanity of 
vanities ! ) that love can defy custom, and be eternal ? 

It was then in this clime — on those seas, that the Athenian 
gazed upon a face that might have suited the nymph, tho 
spirit of the place : feeding his eyes on the changeful roses 
of that softest cheek, happy beyond the happiness of 
common life, loving, and knowing himself beloved. 

In the tale of human passion, in past ages, there is 
something of interest even in the remoteness of the time. 
We love to feel within us the bond which unites the most 
distant eras — men, nations, customs perish ; the affections 
are immortal! — they are the sympathies which unite the 
ceaseless generations. The past lives again, when we look 
upon its emotions — it lives in our own ! That which was, 
ever is ! The magician's gift, that revives the dead — that 
animates the dust of forgotten graves, is not in the author's 
skill — it is in the heart of the reader ! 

Still vainly seeking the eyes of lone, as, half downcast, 
half averted, they shunned his own, the Athenian, in a 
low and soft voice, thus expressed the feelings inspired by 
happier thoughts than those which had coloured the song 
of Nydia. 

THE SONG OF GLAUCUS. 

i. 

" As the bark floateth on o'er the summer-lit sea, 
Floats my heart o'er the deeps of its passion for thee ; 
All lost in the space, without terror it glides, 
For bright with thy soul is the face of the tides. 
Now heaving, now hush'd, is that passionate ocean, 

As it catches thy smile or thy sighs ; 
And the twin-stars* that shine on the wanderer's devotion. 

Its guide and its god — are thine eyes ! 

ii. 

The bark may go down, should the cloud sweep above, 
For its being is bound to the light of thy love. 
As thy faith and thy smile arc its life and its joy, 
So thy frown or thy change are the storms that destroy. 
Ah ! sweeter to sink while the sky is serene, 

If time hath a change for thy heart ! 
If te- live be to weep over what thou hast been, 

Let me die while I know what thou art ! " 



* In allusion to the Dioscuri, or twin-stars, the guardian deity of the 
seamen. 



170 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

As the last words of the* song trembled over the sea, 
lone raised her looks, — they met those of her lover. Happy 
Nydia ! — happy in thy affliction, that thon conldst not seo 
that fascinated and charmed gaze, that said so much — that 
made the eye the voice of the soul — that promised the 
impossibility of change ! 

But, thongh the Thessalian could not detect that gaze, 
she divined its meaning by their silence — by their sighs. 
She pressed her hands tightly across her breast, as if . to 
keep down its bitter and jealous, thoughts ; and then she 
hastened to speak — for that silence was intolerable to her. 

" After all, O Glancns ! " said she, " thcro is nothing 
very mirthful in yonr strain ! " 

"Yet I meant it to be so, when I took up thy lyre, 
pretty one. Perhaps happiness will not permit us to be 

mirtllfTl1 -" 

" How strange is it," said lone, changing a conversation 

which oppressed her while it charmed, — " that for the last 
several days yonder cloud has hung motionless over Ve- 
suvius! xet not indeed motionless, for sometimes it 
changes its form ; and now methinks it looks like some 
vast giant, with an arm outstretched over the city. Dost 
thou see the likeness — or is it only to my fancy ? " 

" Fair lone ! I see it also. It is astonishingly distinct. Tho 
giant seems seated on tho brow of tho mountain, tho 
different shades of tho cloud appear to form a whito robo 
that sweeps over its vast breast and limbs ; it scorns to 
gaze with a steady face upon the city below, to point with 
one hand, as thou sayest, over its glittering streets, and to 
raise the other (dost thou note it?) towards the higher 
heaven. It is like tho ghost of some huge Titan brooding 
over tho beautiful world he lost ; sorrowful for the past- 
yet with something of menace for the future/' 

" Could that mountain have any connection with the 
last night's earthquake ? They say that, ages ago, almost 
in the earliest era of tradition, it gave forth fires as ./Etna 
still. Perhaps tho flames yet lurk and dart beneath." 

" It is possible," said Glaucus, musingly. 

" Thou sayest thou art slow to believe in magic ? " said 
Nydia suddenly. "I have heard that a potent witch 
dwells amongst tho scorched caverns of tho mountain, and 
yon cloud may be tho dim shadow of the demon she confers 
with." 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 171 

" Thou art full of the romance of thy native Thessaly," 
said Glaucus; "and a strange mixture of sense and all 
conflicting superstitions." 

" We are ever superstitious in the dark," replied Nydia. 
" Tell me," she added, after a slight pause, " tell me, 
Glaucus ! do all that are beautiful resemble each other ? 
They say you are beautiful, and lone also. Are your faces 
then the same ? I fancy not, yet it ought to be so." 

"Fancy no such grievous wrong to Tone," answered 
Glaucus, laughing. " But we do not, alas ! resemble each 
other, as the homely and the beautiful sometimes do. 
Ione's hair is dark, mine light ; Ione's eyes are — what 
colour, lone ? I cannot see, turn them to me. Oh, are 
they black ? no, they are too soft. Are they blue ? no, 
they are too deep : tney change with every ray of the sun 
— I know not their colour: but mine, sweet Nydia, are 
grey, and bright only when lone shines on them ! Ione's 
cheek is " 

" I do not understand one word of thy description," 
interrupted Nydia, peevishly. "I comprehend only that 
you do not resemble each other, and I am glad of it." 

" Why, Nydia ? " said lone. 

Nydia coloured slightly. " Because," she replied, coldly, 
" I have always imagined you under different forms, and 
one likes to know one is right." 

" And what hast thou imagined Glaucus to resemble ? " 
asked lone, softly. 

" Music ! " replied Nydia, looking down. 

"Thou art right," thought lone. 

" And what likeness hast thou ascribed to Tono ? " 

" I cannot tell yet," answered tho blind girl ; " I have 
not yet known her long enough to find a shape and sign 
for my guesses." 

" I will tell thee, then," said Glaucus, passionately ; 
"she is like the sun that warms — like the wave that 
refreshes." 

" The sun sometimes scorches, and the wave sometimes 
drowns," answered Nydia. 

" Take then these roses," said Glaucus ; " let their fra- 
grance suggest to thee lone." 

" Alas, the roses will fade ! " said the Neapolitan, 
archly. 

Thus conversing, they wore away the hours ; the lovers, 



V 



172 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

conscious only of the brightness and smiles of love ; the 
blind girl feeling only its darkness — its tortures; — the 
fierceness of jealousy and its woe ! 

And now, as they drifted on, Glaucus once more resumed 
the lyre, and woke its strings with a careless hand to a 
strain, so wildly and gladly beautiful, that even Nydia 
was aroused from her reverie, and uttered a cry of 
admiration. 

" Thou seest," my child," cried Glaucus, " that I can yet 
redeem the character of love's music, and that I was wrong 
in saying happiness could not be gay. Listen, Nydia ! 
listen, dear lone ! and hear 

THE BIRTH OF LOVE.* 

i. 

"Like a Star in the seas above, 

Like a Dream to the waves of sleep-* 

Up — Ut) — THE INCARNATE LOVE — 

She rose from the charmed deep ! 
And over the Cyprian Isle 
The skies shed their silent smile ; 
And the Forest's green heart was rife 
With the stir of the gushing life— 
The life that had leap'd to birth, 
In the veins of the happy earth ! 

Hail! oh, hail! 
The dimmest sea-cave below thee, 

The farthest sky-arch above, 
In their innermost stillness know thec : 

And heave with the Birth of Love ! 
Gale ! soft Gale ! 
Thou comest on thy silver winclets, 

From thy home in the tender west 
Now fanning her golden ringlets, 

Now hush'd on her heaving breast. 
And afar on the murmuring sand, 
The Seasons wait hand in hand 
To welcome thee, Birth Divine, 
To the earth which is henceforth thine. 

u. 

Behold ! how she kneels in the shell, 
Bright pearl in its floating cell ! 
Behold ! how the shell's rose-hues 

The check and the breast of snow. 
And the delicate limbs suffuse 

Liko a blush, with a bashful glow. 

* Suggested by a picture of Venus rising from the sea, taken from Pompeii, 
and now in the Museum of Naples. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 173 

Sailing on, slowly sailing 

O'er the wild water; 
AllTiail ! as the fond light is hailing 

Her daughter, 

All hail ! 
We are thine, all thine evermore : 
Not a leaf on the laughing shore, 
Not a wave on the heaving sea, 

Nor a single sigh 

In the boundless sky, 
But is vow*d evermore to the© ! 

ni. % 

And thou, my beloved one— thou, 
As I gaze on "thy soft eyes now, 
Me thinks from their depths I view, 
The Holy Birth born anew ; 
Thy lids are the gentle cell 

"Where the young Love blusMng lies; 
See ! she breaks from the mystic shell, 

She comes from thy tender eyes ! 
Hail! all hail! 
She comes, as she came from the sea, 
To my soul as it looks on thee ; 

She comes, she comes ! 
She comes, as she came from the sea, 
To my soul as it looks on thee ! 

Hail! all hail!" 



CHAPTER HI. 

THE CONGREGATION. 



Followed by ApaBcides, the Nazarene gained the side of 
the Sanms; — that river, which now has shrunk into a 
petty stream, then rushed gaily into the sea, covered with 
countless vessels, and reflecting on its waves the gardens, 
the vines, the palaces, and the temples of Pompeii. From 
its more noisy and frequented banks, Olinthus directed his 
steps to a path which ran amidst a shady vista of trees, at 
the distance of a few paces from the river. This walk was 
in the evening a favourite resort of the Pompeians, but 
during the heat and business of the day was seldom visited, 
save by some groups of playful children, some meditative 
poet, or some disputative philosophers. At the side farthest 
from the river, frequent copses of box interspersed the 
more delicate and evanescent foliage, and these were cut 
into a thousand quaint shapes, sometimes into the forms of 



174 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

fauns and satyrs, sometimes into the mimicry of Egyptian 
pyramids, sometimes into the letters that composed the 
name of a popular or eminent citizen. Thus the false taste 
is equally ancient as the pure ; and the retired traders of 
Hackney and Paddington, a century ago, were little aware, 
perhaps, that in their tortured yews and sculptured box, 
they found their models in the most polished period of 
Roman antiquity, in the gardens of Pompeii, and the villas 
of the fastidious Pliny. 

This walk now, as the noonday sun shone perpendicu- 
larly through the chequered leaves, was entirely deserted ; 
at least no other forms than those of Olinthus and the 
priest infringed upon the solitude. They sat themselves 
on one of the benches, placed at intervals between the 
trees, and facing the faint breeze that came languidly from 
the river, whose waves danced and sparkled before them ; 
— a singular and contrasted pair; the believer in the 
latest — the priest of the most ancient — worship of the 
world! 

" Since thou leftst me so abruptly," said Olinthus, " hast 
thou been happy ? has thy heart found contentment under 
these priestly robes ? hast thou, still yearning for the voice 
of God, heard it whisper comfort to thee from the oracles 
of Isis ? That sigh, that averted countenance, give me the 
answer my soul predicted." 

" Alas ! " answered Apsecides, sadly, " thou seest before 
thee a wretched and distracted man ! From my childhood 
upward I have idolised the dreams of virtue! I have 
envied the holiness of men who, in caves and lonely 
temples, have been admitted to the companionship of beings 
above the world ; my days have been consumed with 
feverish and vague desires ; my nights with mocking but 
solemn visions. Seduced by the mystic prophecies of an 
impostor, I have indued these robes ; — my nature (I con- 
fess it to thee frankly) — my nature has revolted at what I 
have seen and been doomed to share in ! Searching after 
truth, I have become but the minister of falsehoods. On 
the evening in which we last met, I was buoyed by hopes 
created by that same impostor, whom I ought already to 
have better known. I have — no matter — no matter ! 
suffice it, I have added perjury and sin to rashness and to 
Borrow. The veil is now rent for ever from my eyes ; I 
behold a villain where I obeyed ft demigod; the earth 



THE LAST DAY8 OF POMPEII. 175 

darkens in my sight ; I am in the deepest abyss of gloom ; 
I know not if there be gods above ; if we are the things of 
chance; if beyond the bounded and melancholy present 
there is annihilation or an hereafter — tell me, then, thy 
faith; solve me these doubts, if thou hast indeed the 
power! " 

" I do not marvel," answered the Nazarene, " that thou 
hast thus erred, or that thou art thus sceptic. Eighty 
years ago there was no assurance to man of God, or of a 
certain and definite future beyond the grave. New laws 
are declared to him who has ears — a heaven, a true 
Olympus, is revealed to him who has eyes— heed then, 
and listen." 

And with all the earnestness of a man believing ardently 
himself, and zealous to convert, the Nazarene poured forth 
to Apaecides the assurances of Scriptural promise. He 
spoke first of the sufferings and miracles of Christ — he 
wept as he spoke: he turned next to the glories of the 
Saviour's ascension — to the clear predictions of Revelation. 
He described that pure and unsensual heaven destined to 
the virtuous — those fires and torments that were the doom 
of guilt. 

The doubts which spring up to the mind of later rea- 
soners, in the immensity of the sacrifice of God to man, 
were not such as would occur to an early heathen. He 
had been accustomed to believe that the gods had lived 
upon earth, and taken upon themselves the forms of men ; 
had shared in human passions, in human labours, and in 
human misfortunes. What was the travail of his own 
Alcmaena's son, whose altars now smoked with the incense 
of countless cities, but a toil for the human race. Had 
not the great Dorian Apollo expiated a mystic sin by 
descending to the grave ? Those who were the deities of 
heaven had been the lawgivers or benefactors on earth, 
and gratitude had led to worship. It seemed therefore, to 
the heathen, a doctrine neither new nor strange, that Christ 
had been sent from heaven, that an immortal had indued 
mortality, and tasted the bitterness of death. And the 
end for which He thus toiled and thus suffered — how far 
more glorious did it seem to Apaecides than that for which 
the deities of old had visited the nether world, and passed 
through the gates of death ! Was it not worthy of a God 
to descend to these dim valleys, in order to clear up the 



176 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

cloud* gathered over the dark mount beyond — to satisfy 
the doubts of sages — to convert speculation into certainty 
— by example to point out the rules of life — by revelation 
to solve the enigma of the grave — and to prove that 
the soul did not yearn in vain when it dreamed of an 
immortality? In this last was the great argument of 
those lowly men destined to convert the earth. As nothing 
is more flattering to the pride and the hopes of man than 
the belief in a future state, so nothing could be more 
vague and confused than the notions of the heathen sages 
upon that mystic subject. Ap®cides had already learned 
that the faith of the philosophers was not that of the herd ; 
that if they secretly professed a creed in some diviner 
power, it was not the creed which they thought it wise to 
impart to the community. He had already learned, that 
even the priest ridiculed what he preached to the people — 
that the notions of the few and the many were never 
united. But, in tnis new faith, it seemed to him that phi- 
losopher, priest, and people, the expounders of the religion 
and its followers, were alike accordant: they did not 
speculate and debate upon immortality, they spoke of it as 
a thing certain and assured ; the magnincence of the pro- 
mise dazzled him — its consolations soothed. For the 
Christian faith made its early converts among sinners! 
many of its fathers and its martyrs were those who had 
felt the bitterness of vice, and who were therefore no 
longer tempted by its false aspect from the paths of an 
austere and uncompromising virtue. All the assurances 
of this healing faith invited to repentance — they were pecu- 
liarly adapted to the bruised and sore of spirit ! the very 
remorse which Ap&cides felt - for his late excesses, made 
him incline to one who found holiness in that remorse, and 
who whispered of the joy in heaven over one sinner that 
repenteth. 

" Come," said the Nazarene, as he perceived the effect 
he had produced, " come to the humble hall in which we 
meet— a select and a chosen few ; listen there to our 
prayers; note the sincerity of our repentant tears ; mingle 
in our simple sacrifice — not of victims, nor of garlands, 
but offered by white-robed thoughts upon the altar of the 
heart. The flowers that we lay there are imperishable — 
they bloom over us when we are no more ; nay, they ac- 
company us beyond the grave, they spring up beneath our 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 177 

feet in heaven, they delight us with an eternal odour, for 
they are of the soul, they partake of its nature; these 
offerings are temptations overcome, and sins repented. 
Come, oh come ! lose not another moment ; prepare already 
for the great, the awful journey, from darkness to light, 
from sorrow to bliss, from corruption to immortality ! 
This is the day of the Lord the Son, a day that we have 
set apart for our devotions. Though we meet usually at 
night, yet some amongst us are gathered together even 
now. What joy, what triumph, will be with us all, if we 
can bring one stray lamb into the sacred fold ! " 

There seemed to Apsecides, so naturally pure of heart, 
something ineffably generous and benign in that spirit of 
conversation which animated Olinthus — a spirit that found 
its own bliss in the happiness of others — that sought in 
its wide sociality to make companions for eternity. He 
was touched, softened, and subdued. He was not in that 
mood which can bear to be left alone; curiosity, too, 
mingled with his purer stimulants — he was anxious to see 
those rites of which so many dark and contradictory 
rumours were afloat. He paused a moment, looked over 
his garb, thought of Arbaces, shuddered with horror, 
lifted his eyes to the broad brow of the Nazarene, intent, 
anxious, watchful — but for his benefit, for his salvation! 
He drew his cloak round him, so as wholly to conceal his 
robes, and said, " Lead on, I follow thee." 

Olinthus pressed his hand joyfully, and then descending 
to the river side, hailed one of the boats that plyed there 
constantly ; they entered it ; an awning overhead, while it 
sheltered them from the sun, screened also their persons 
from observation : they rapidly skimmed the wave. From 
one of the boats that passed them floated a soft music, and 
its prow was decorated with flowers — it was gliding to- 
wards the sea. 

" So," said Olinthus, sadly, " unconscious and mirthful 
in their delusions, sail the votaries of luxury into the 
great ocean of storm and shipwreck ! we pass them, silent 
and unnoticed, to gain the land." 

ApsBcides, lifting his eyes, caught through the aperture 
in the awning a glimpse of the face of one of the inmates 
of that gay bark — it was the face of lone. The lovers 
were embarked on the excursion at which we have been 
made present. The priest sighed, and once more sunk 



180 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

dark and hardy Syrian, whose youth had been spent in 
pillage and bloodshed. The eldest of the congregation (it 
was that old slave) opened to them his arms ; they fled to 
the shelter — they crept to his breast — and his hard fea- 
tures smiled as he caressed them. And then these bold 
and fervent men, nnrsed in vicissitude, beaten by the 
rongh winds of life — men of mailed and impervious forti- 
tude, ready to affront a world, prepared for torment and 
armed for death — men, who presented all imaginable con- 
trast to the weak nerves, the light hearts, the tender fra- 
gility of childhood, crowded round the infants, smoothing 
their rugged brows and composing their bearded lips to 
kindly and fostering smiles : and then the old man opened 
the scroll, and he taught the infants to repeat after him 
that beautiful prayer which we still dedicate to the Lord, 
and still teach to our children ; and then he told them, in 
simple phrase, of God's love to the young, and how not a 
sparrow falls but His eye sees it. This lovely custom of 
infant initiation was long cherished by the early Church, 
in memory of the words which said, " Suffer little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not ; " and was perhaps 
the origin of the superstitious calumny which ascribed to 
the Nazarenes the crime which the Nazarene, when victo- 
rious, attributed to the Jew, viz. the decoying children to 
hideous rites, at which they were secretly immolated. 

And the stern paternal penitent seemed to feel in the 
innocence of his children a return into early life — life ere 
yet it sinned : he followed the motion of their young lips 
with an earnest gaze; he smiled as they repeated, with 
hushed and reverent looks, the holy words ; and when the 
lesson was done, and they ran, released, and gladly to his 
knee, he clasped them to his breast, kissed them again and 
again, and tears flowed fast down his cheek — tears, of 
which it would have been impossible to trace the source, so 
mingled they were with joy and sorrow, penitence and hope 
— remorse for himself and love for them ! 

Something, I say, there was in this scene which pecu- 
liarly affected Apaecules ; and, in truth, it is difficult to 
conceive a ceremony more appropriate to the religion of 
benevolence, more appealing to the household and every- 
day affections, striking a more sensitive chord in the 
human breast. 

It was at this time that an inner door opened gently, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 181 

and a Very old man entered the chamber, leaning on a 
staff. At his presence, the whole congregation rose ; there 
was an expression of deep, affectionate respect npon every 
countenance ; and Apaecides, gazing on his countenance, 
felt attracted towards him by an irresistible sympathy. 
No man ever looked npon that face without love; for 
there had dwelt the smile of the Deity, the incarnation of 
divinest love ; — and the glory of the smile had never passed 
away. 

"My children, God be with you! " said the old man, 
stretching his arms ; and as he spoke the infants ran to his 
knee. He sat down, and they nestled fondly to his bosom. 
It was beautiful to see that mingling of the extremes of 
life — the rivers gushing from their early source — the ma- 
jestic stream gliding to the ocean of eternity ! As the 
light of declining day seems to mingle earth and heaven, 
making the outline of each scarce visible, and blending 
the harsh mountain-tops with the sky, even so did the 
smile of that benign old age appear to hallow the aspect of 
those around, to blend together the strong distinctions of 
varying years, and to diffuse over infancy and manhood 
the light of that heaven into which it must so soon vanish 
and be lost. 

"Father," said Olinthus, "thou on i whose form the 
miracle of the Redeemer worked ; thou who wert snatched 
from the grave to become the living witness of His mercy 
and His power ; behold ! a stranger in our meeting — a new 
lamb gathered to the fold ! " 

" Let me bless him," said the old man : the throng gave 
way. Apeecides approached him as by an instinct : he fell 
on his knees before him — the old man laid his hand on the 
priest's head, and blessed him, but not aloud. As his lips 
moved, his eyes were upturned, and tears — those tears that 
good men only shed in the hope of happiness to another — 
flowed fast down his cheeks. 

The children were on either side of the convert; his 
heart was theirs — he had become as one of them — to enter 
into the kingdom of Heaven. 



182 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE STREAM OP LOVE RUNS ON — WHITHER P 

Days are like years in the love of the young, when no 
bar, no obstacle, is between their hearts — when the sun 
shines, and the course runs smooth — when their love is 
prosperous and confessed. lone no longer concealed from 
Glaucus the attachment she felt for him, and their talk now 
was only of their love. Over the rapture of the present 
the hopes of the future glowed like the heaven above the 
gardens of spring. They went in their trustful thoughts 
far down the stream of time ; they laid out the chart of 
their destiny to come ; they suffered the light of to-day to 
suffuse the morrow. In the youth of their hearts it seemed 
as if care, and change, and death, were as things unknown. 
Perhaps they loved each other the more because the condi- 
tion of the world left to Glaucus no aim and no wish but 
love; becausG the distractions common in free states to 
men's affections existed not for the Athenian ; because his 
country wooed him not to the bustle of civil life ; because 
ambition furnished no counterpoise to love : and, therefore, 
over their schemes and projects, love only reigned. In the 
iron age they imagined themselves of the golden, doomed 
only to live and to love. 

To the superficial observer, who interests himself only in 
characters strongly marked and broadly coloured, both the 
lovers may seem of too slight and commonplace a mould : 
in the delineation of characters purposely subdued,, the 
reader sometimes imagines that there is a want of cha- 
racter ; perhaps, indeed, I wrong the real nature of these 
two lovers by not painting more impressively their stronger 
individualities. But in dwelling so much on their bright 
and bird-like existence, I am influenced almost insensibly 
by the forethought of the changes that await them, and for 
which they were so ill prepared. It was this very softness 
and gaiety of life that contrasted most strongly the vicissi- 
tudes of their coming fate. For the oak without fruit or 
blossom, whose hard and rugged heart is fitted for the 
storm, there is less fear than for the delicate branches of 
the myrtle, and the laughing clusters of the vine. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 188 

They had now advanced far into August — the next month 
their marriage was fixed, and the threshold of Glaucns was 
already wreathed with garlands ; and nightly, by the door 
of lone, he poured forth the rich libations. He existed no 
longer for his gay companions ; he was ever with lone. In 
the mornings they beguiled the sun with music : in the 
evenings they forsook the crowded haunts of the gay for 
excursions on the water, or along the fertile and vine- clad 
plains that lay beneath the fatal mount of Vesuvius. The 
earth shook no more ; the lively Pompeians forgot even 
that there had gone forth so terrible a warning of their 
approaching doom. Glaucus imagined that convulsion, in 
the vanity of his heathen religion, an especial interposition of 
the gods, less in behalf of his own safety than that of lone. 
He offered up the sacrifices of gratitude at the temples of 
his faith ; and even the altar of Isis was covered with his 
votive garlands ; — as to the prodigy of the animated marble, 
he blushed at the effect it had produced on him. He 
believed it, indeed, to have been wrought by the magic of 
man ; but the result convinced him that it betokened not 
the anger of a goddess. 

Of Arbaces, they heard only that he still lived ; stretched 
on the bed of suffering, he recovered slowly from the effect 
of the shock he had sustained — he left the lovers unmolested 
— but it was only to brood over the hour and the method 
of revenge. 

Alike in their mornings at the house of lone, and in their 
ovening excursions, Nydia was usually their constant, and 
often their sole companion. They did not guess the secret 
fires which consumed her : — the abrupt freedom with which 
she mingled in their conversation — her capacious and often 
her peevish moods found ready indulgence in the rocolloc- 
tion of the service they owed her, and their compassion for 
her affliction. They felt an interest in her, perhaps the 
greater and more affectionate from the very strangeness and 
waywardness of her nature, her singular alternations of 
passions and softness — the mixture of ignoranco and genius 
— of delicacy and rudeness — of the quick humours of the 
child, and the proud calmness of the woman. Although 
she refused to accept of freedom, she was constantly suffered 
to be free ; she went whero she listed : no curb was put 
either on her words or actions ; they felt for one so darkly 
fated, and so susceptible of every wound, the same pitying 



184 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

and compliant indulgence the mother feels for a spoiled 
and sickly child, — dreading to impose authority, even 
where they imagined it for her benefit. She availed herself 
of this licence by refusing the companionship of the slave 
whom they wished to attend her. With the slender staff 
by which she guided her steps, she went now, as in her 
former unprotected state, along the populous streets: it 
was almost miraculous to perceive how quickly and how 
dexterously she threaded every crowd, avoiding every 
danger, and could find her benighted way through the 
most intricate windings of the city. But her chief delight 
was still in visiting the few feet of ground which made the 
garden of Glaucus ; — in tending the flowers that at least 
repaid her love. Sometimes she entered the chamber 
where he sat, and sought a conversation, which she nearly 
always broke off abruptly — for conversation with Glaucus 
only tended to one subject — lone ; and that name from his 
lips inflicted agony upon her. Often she bitterly repented 
the service she had rendered to lone : often she said inly, 
"If she had fallen, Glaucus could have loved her no 
longer;" and then dark and fearful thoughts crept into her 
breast. 

She had not experienced fully the trials that were in 
store for her, when she had been thus generous. She had 
never before been present when Glaucus and lone were 
together ; she had never heard that voice so kind to her, so 
much softer to another. The shock that crushed her heart 
with the tidings that Glaucus loved, had at first only 
saddened and benumbed; — by degrees jealousy took a 
wilder and fiercer shape ; it partook of hatred — it whispered 
revenge. As you see the wind only agitate the green leaf 
upon the bough, while the leaf which has lain withered and 
seared on the ground, bruised and trampled upon till the 
sap and life are gone, is suddenly whirled aloft— now here 
— now there — without stay and without rest ; so the love 
which visits the happy and the hopeful hath but freshness 
on its wings ! its violence is but sportive. But the heart 
that hath fallen from the green things of life, that is with- 
out hope, that hath no summer in its fibres, is torn and 
whirled by the same wind that but caresses its brethren ; — 
it hath no bough to cling to— it is dashed from path to 
path — till the winds fall, and it is crushed into the miro 
for ever. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 185 

The friendless childhood of Nydia had hardened pre- 
maturely his character; perhaps the heated scenes of 
profligacy through which she had passed, seemingly un- 
scathed, had ripened her passions, though they had not 
sullied her purity. The orgies of Burbo might only have 
disgusted, the banquets of the Egyptian might only have 
terrified, at the moment ; bnt the winds that pass unheeded 
over the soil leave seeds behind them. As darkness, too, 
favours the imagination, so, perhaps, her very blindness con- 
tributed to feed with wild and delirious visions the love of 
the unfortunate girl. The voice of Glaucus had been the 
first that had sounded musically to her ear ; his kindness 
made a deep impression upon her mind ; when he had left 
Pompeii in the former year, she had treasured up in her 
heart every word he had uttered ; and when any one told 
her that this friend and patron of the poor flower-girl was 
the most brilliant and the most graceful of the young 
revellers of Pompeii, she had felt a pleasing pride in nurs- 
ing his recollection. Even the task which she imposed 
upon herself, of tending his flowers, served to keep hfm in 
her mind ; she associated him with all that was most charm- 
ing to her impressions; and when she had refused to 
express what image she fancied lone to resemble, it was 
partly, perhaps, that whatever was bright and soft in 
nature she had already combined with the thought of 
Glaucus. If any of my readers ever loved at an age which 
they would now smile to remember — an age in which fancy 
forestalled the reason, let them say whether that love, 
among all its strange and complicated delicacies, was not, 
above all other and later passions, susceptible of jealousy ? 
I seek not here the cause : I know that it is commonly the 
met. 

When Glaucus returned to Pompeii, Nydia had told 
another year of life ; that year, with its sorrows, its loneli- 
ness, its trials, had greatly developed her mind and heart ; 
and when the Athenian drew her unconsciously to his 
breast, deeming her still in soul as in years a child — when 
be kissed her smooth cheek, and wound his arm round her 
trembling frame, Nydia felt suddenly, and as by revelation, 
that those feelings she had long and innocently cherished 
were of love. Doomed to be rescued from tyranny by 
Glaucus — doomed to take shelter under his roof — doomed 
to breathe, but for so brief a time, the same air — and 



186 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

doomed, in the first rash of a thousand happy, grateful, 
delicious sentiments of an overflowing heart, to hear that 
he loved another ; to be commissioned to that other, the 
messenger, the minister; to feel all at once that ntter 
nothingness which she was — which she ever most be, bnt 
which, till then, her young mind had not taught her, — that 
utter nothingness to him who was all to her ; what wonder 
that, in her wild and passionate soul, all the elements 
jarred discordant ; that if love reigned over the whole, it 
was not the love which is born of the more sacred and soft 
emotions? Sometimes she dreaded only lest Glaucus 
should discover her secret ; sometimes she felt indignant 
that it was not suspected ; it was a sign of contempt — -could 
he imagine that she presumed so far ? Her feelings to 
lone ebbed and flowed with every hour ; now she loved her 
because he did ; now she hated her for the same cause. 
There were moments when she could have murdered her 
unconscious mistress ; moments when she could have laid 
down life for her. These fierce and tremulous alterna- 
tions of passion were too severe to be borne long. Her 
health gave way, though she felt it not — her cheek paled — 
her step grew feebler — tears came to her eyes more often, 
and relieved her less. 

One morning, when she repaired to her usual task in the 
garden of the Athenian, she found Glaucus under the 
columns of the peristyle, with a merchant of the town ; he 
was selecting jewels for his destined bride. He had 
already fitted up her apartment; the jewels he bought 
that day were placed also within it — they were never fated 
to grace the fair form of lone ; they may be seen at this 
day among the disinterred treasures of Pompeii, in the 
chambers of the studio at Naples.* 

" Come hither, Nydia ; put down thy vase, and come 
hither. Thou must take this chain from me — stay — 
there, I have put it on. — There, Servilius, does it not 
become her ? " 

" Wonderfully ! " answered the jeweller ; for jewellers 
were well-bred and flattering men, even at that day. 
" But when these ear-rings glitter in the ears of the noble 
lone, then, by Bacchus ! you will see whether my art adds 
anything to beauty." 

• Several bracelets, chains, and jewels, were found in the house. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 187 

" lone ? " repeated Nydia, who had hitherto acknow- 
ledged by smiles and blushes the gift of Glaucus. 

" Yes," replied the Athenian, carelessly toying with the 
gems ; " I am choosing a present for lone, but there are 
none worthy of her." 

He was startled as he spoke by an abrupt gesture of 
Nydia ; she tore the chain violently from her neck, and 
dashed it on the ground. 

" How is this ? What, Nydia, dost thou not like the 
bauble ? art thou offended ? " 

" You treat me ever as a slave and as a child," replied 
the Thessalian, with a breast heaving with ill-suppressed 
sobs, and she turned hastily away to the opposite corner of 
the garden. 

Glaucus did not attempt to follow, or to soothe ; he was 
offended ; he continued to examine the jewels and to com- 
ment on their fashion — to object to this and to praise that, 
and finally to be talked by the merchant into buying all ; 
the safest plan for a lover, and a plan that any one will do 
right to adopt, — provided always that he can obtain an 
lone ! 

When he had completed his purchase and dismissed the 
jeweller, he retired into his chamber, dressed, mounted 
his chariot, and went to lone. He thought no more of the 
blind girl, or her offence ; he had forgotten both the one 
and the other. 

He spent the forenoon with his beautiful Neapolitan, 
repaired thence to the baths, supped (if, as we have said 
before, we can justly so translate the three o'clock coma 
of the Romans) alone, and abroad, for Pompeii had its 
restaurateurs : — and returning home to change his dress 
ere he again repaired to the house of lone, he passed the 
peristyle, but with the absorbed reverie and absent eyes 
of a man in love, and did not note the form of the poor 
blind girl, bending exactly in the same place where he had 
left her. But though he saw her not, her ear recognised 
at once the sound of his step. She had been counting the 
moments to his return. He had scarcely entered his 
favourite chamber, which opened on the peristyle, and 
seated himself musingly on his couch, when he felt his 
robe timorously touched, and, turning, he beheld Nydia 
kneeling before him, and holding up to him a handful 
of flowers — a gentle and appropriate peace-offering; 



188 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

—her eyes, darkly upheld to his own, streamed with 
tears. 

" 1 have offended thee," said she, sobbing, " and for the 
first time. I would die rather than cause thee a moment's 
pain — say that thou wilt forgive me. See ! I have taken 
up the chain ; I have put it on ; I will never part from it 
—it is thy gift." 

" My dear Nydia," returned Glaucu3, and raising her, 
he kissed her forehead, " think of it no more ! But why, 
my child, werfc thou so suddenly angry ? I could not 
divine the cause ? " 

" Do not ask ! " said she, colouring violently. " I am a 
thing full of faults and humours ; you know I am but a 
child — you say so often : is it from a child that you can 
expect a reason for every folly ? " 

" But, prettiest, you will soon be a child no more ; and 
if you would have us treat you as a woman, you must 
learn to govern these singular impulses and gales of pas- 
sion. Think not I chide : no, it is for your happiness only 
I speak." 

" It is true," said Nydia, " I must learn to govern my- 
self. I must hide, I must suppress, my heart. This is 
a woman's task and duty ; methinks her virtue is 
hypocrisy." 

" Self-control is not deceit, my Nydia," returned the 
Athenian ; " and that is the virtue necessary alike to man 
and to woman ; it is the true senatorial toga, the badge of 
the dignity it covers." 

" Self-control ! self-control ! Well, well, what you say 
is right ! When I listen to you, Glaucus, my wildest 
thoughts grow calm and sweet, and a delicious sere-, 
nity falls over me. Advise, ah ! guide me ever, my 
preserver ! " 

" Thy affectionate heart will be thy best guide, Nydia, 
when thou hast learned to regulate its feelings." 

" Ah ! that will be never," sighed Nydia, wiping away 
her tears. 

" Say not so : the first effort is the only difficult 
one." 

" I have made many first efforts," answered Nydia, in- 
nocently. " But you, my Mentor, do you find it so easy 
to control yourself ? Can you conceal, can you even regu- 
late, your love for lone ? " 



THE LA8T DAY8 OF POMPEIL 189 

" Lore ! dear Nydia : ah ! that is quite another matter, 99 
answered the young preceptor. 

" I thought so ! " returned Nydia, with a melancholy 
smile. " Glaucus, wilt thou take my poor flowers ? Do 
with them as thou wilt — thou canst give them to lone," 
added she, with a little hesitation. 

"Nay, Nydia," answered Glaucus, kindly, divining 
something of jealousy in her language, though he imagined 
it only the jealousy of a vain and susceptible child ; " I 
will not give thy pretty flowers to any one. Sit here and 
weave them into a garland; I will wear it this night: 
it is not the first those delicate fingers have woven for 



me." 



The poor girl delightedly sat down beside Glaucus. 
She drew from her girdle a ball of the many-coloured 
threads, or rather slender ribands, used in the weaving of 
garlands, and which (for it was her professional occupa- 
tion) she carried constantly with her, and began quickly 
and gracefully to commence her task. Upon her young 
cheeks the tears were already dried, a faint but happy 
smile played round her lips ; — childlike, indeed, she was 
sensible only of the joy of the present hour : she was re- 
conciled to Glaucus: he had forgiven her — she was 
beside him — he played caressingly with her silken hair — 
his breath fanned her cheek, — lone, the cruel lone, was 
not by — none other demanded, divided, his care. Yes, 
she was happy and forgetful; it was one of the few 
moments in her brief and troubled life that it was sweet 
to treasure, to recall. As the butterfly, allured by the 
winter sun, basks for a little while in the sudden light, 
ere yet the wind awakes and the frost comes on, which 
shall blast it before the eve, — she rested beneath a beam, 
which, by contrast with the wonted skies, was not chill- 
ing ; and the instinct which should have warned her of its 
briefness, bade her only gladden in its smile. 

"Thou hast beautiful locks," said Glaucus. "They 
were once, I ween well, a mother's delight." 

Nydia sighed ; it would seem that she had not been 
born a slave ; but she ever shunned the mention of her 
parentage, and, whether obscure or noble, certain it is that 
ljer birth was never known by her benefactors, nor by any 
one in those distant shores, even to the last. The child of 
sorrow and of mystery, she came and went as some bird 



190 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

that enters our chamber for a moment ; we see it flutter 
for a while before ns, we knew not whence it flew or to 
what region it escapes. 

Nydia sighed, and after a short pause, without answer- 
ing the remark, said, — 

"But do I weave too many roses in my wreath, 
Glaucus ? They tell me it is thy favourite flower." 

" And ever favoured, my Nydia, be it by those who 
have the soul of poetry : it is the flower of love, of fes- 
tivals ; it is also the flower we dedicate to silence and to 
death ; it blooms on our brows in life, while life be worth 
the having ; it is scattered above our sepulchre when we 
are no more." 

" Ah ! would," said Nydia, " instead of this perishable 
wreath, that I could take thy web from the hand of the 
Fates, and insert the roses there I " 

" Pretiy one ! thy wish is worthy of a voice so attuned 
to song ; it is uttered in the spirit of song ; and, whatever 
my doom, I thank thee." 

" Whatever thy doom ! is it not already destined to all 
things bright and fair ? My wish was vain. The Fates 
will be as tender to thee as I should." 

" It might not be so, Nydia, were it not for love ! 
While youth lasts, I may forget my country for a while. 
But what Athenian, in his graver manhood, can think of 
Athens as she was, and be contented that he is happy, 
while she is fallen ? — fallen, and for ever ? " 

" And why for ever ! " 

"As ashes cannot be rekindled — as love once dead 
can never revive, so freedom departed from a people is 
never regained. But talk we not of these matters un- 
stated to thee." 

" To me, oh ! thou errest. I, too, have my sighs for 
Greece ; my cradle was rocked at the foot of Olympus ; 
the gods have left the mountain, but their traces may be 
seen — seen in the hearts of their worshippers, seen in the 
beauty of their clime : they tell me it is beautiful, and I 
have felt its airs, to which even these, are harsh — its sun, 
to which these skies are chill. Oh ! talk to me of Greece ! 
Poor fool that I am, I can comprehend thee! and me- 
thinks, had I yet lingered on those shores, had I been a 
Grecian maid whose happy fate it was to love and to be 
loved, I myself could have armed my lover for another 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 191 

Marathon, a new Plataea. Yes, the hand that now 
weaves the roses should have woven thee the olive 
crown ! " 

" If such a day could come ! " said G-laucus, catching 
the enthusiasm of the blind Thessalian, and half rising. — 
" But no ! the sun has set, and the night only bids us be 
forgetful, — and in forgetfulness be gay : — weave still the 
roses ! " 

But it was with a melancholy tone of forced gaiety that 
the Athenian uttered the last words : and sinking into a 
gloomy reverie, he was only wakened from it, a few 
minutes afterwards, by the voice of Nydia, as she sang in 
a low tone the following words, which he had once taught 
her: 

THE APOLOGY FOR PLEASURE. 

i. 
Who will assume the bays 

That the hero wore ? 
Wreaths on the Tomb of Days 

Gone evermore ! 
Who shall disturb the brave, 
Or one leaf on their holy grave ? 
The laurel is vowed to them, 
Leave the bay on its sacred stem ! 
But this, the rose, the fading rose. 
Alike for slave and freeman grows. 

n. 
If Memory sit beside the dead 

With tombs her only treasure ; 
If Hope is lost and Freedom fled, 

The more excuse for Pleasure, 
Come, weave the wreath, the roses weave, 

The rose at least is ours : 
To feeble hearts our fathers leave, 

In pitying scorn, the flowers ! 

m. 

On the summit, worn and hoary, 
Of Phyle's solemn hill, 
The tramp of the brave is still ! 
And still in the saddening Mart, 
The pulse of that mighty heart, 

Wnose very blood was glory ! 
Glaucopis forsakes her own, 

The angry gods forget us ; 
But vet, tile blue streams along, 
Walt the feet of the silver Song ; 
And the night-bird wakes the moon ; 
And the bees in the blushing noon 

Haunt the heart of the old Hymettus, 



192 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEtL 

"We arc fallen, but not forlorn, 

If something is left to cherish'; 
As Love was the earliest born, 

80 Lore is the last to perish. 

IV. 

Wreathe then the roses, wreathe 

The Beautiful still is ours, 
While the stream shall flow and the sky shall glow, 
The Beautiful still is ours ! 
Whatever is fair, or soft, or bright. 
In the lap of day or the arms of night, 
Whispers our soul of Greece— of Greece. 
And hushes our care with a voice of peace. 
Wreathe then the roses, wreathe ! 
They tell me of earlier hours ; 
And I hear the heart of mv Country breathe 
From the lips of the Stranger's flowers. 



CHAPTER V. 



NTDIA ENCOUNTERS JULIA. — INTERVIEW OF THE HEATHEN 
SISTER AND CONVERTED BROTHER. — AN ATHENIAN'S NOTION 
OP CHRISTIANITY. 



u 



What happiness to lone ! what bliss to be ever by the 
side of Glaucus, to hear his voice ! — And she too can see 
him!" 

Such was the soliloquy of the blind girl, as she walked 
alone and at twib'ght to the house of her new mistress, 
whither Glaucus had already preceded her. Suddenly 
she was interrupted in her fond thoughts by a female 
voice. 

" Blind flower-girl, whither goest thou ? There is no 
pannier under thine arm; hast thou sold all thy 
flowers ? " 

The person thus accosting Nydia was a lady of a hand- 
some but a bold and unmaidenly countenance : it was 
Julia, the daughter of Diomed. Her veil was half raised 
as she spoke ; she was accompanied by Diomed himself, 
and by a slave carrying a lantern before them — the mer- 
chant and his daughter were returning home from a 
supper at one of tbeir neighbours'. 

" Dost thou not remember my voice ? " continued 
Julia. " I am the daughter of Diomed the wealthy." 



I* 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 198 

" Ah ! forgive me ; yes, I recall the tones of your voice. 
No, noble JuKa, I nave no flowers to sell." 

" I heard that thon wert purchased by the beautiful Greek 
Glaucus ; is that true, pretty slave ? " asked Julia. 

"I serve the Neapolitan, lone," replied Nydia, eva- 
sively. 

" Ah ! and it is true, then — 

" Come, come ! " interrupted Diomed, with his cloak up 
to his mouth, " the night grows cold ; I cannot stay here 
while you prate to that blind girl : come, let her follow you 
home, if you wish to speak to her." 

" Do, child," said Julia, with the air of one not accus- 
tomed to be refused ; " I have much to ask of thee : 
come." 

" I cannot this night, it grows late," answered Nydia. 
" I must be at home ; I am not free, noble Julia." 

"What, the meek lone will chide thee? — Ay, I doubt 
not she is a second Thalestris. But come, then, to- 
morrow : do — remember I have been thy friend of old." 

" I will obey thy wishes," answered Nydia ; and Diomed 
again impatiently summoned his daughter: she was 
obliged to proceed, with the main question she had de- 
sired to put to Nydia unasked. 

Meanwhile we return to lone. The interval of time 
that had elapsed that day between the first and second 
visit of Glaucus had not been too gaily spent : she had 
received a visit from her brother. Since the night he had 
assisted in saving her from the Egyptian, she had not 
before seen him. 

Occupied with his own thoughts, — thoughts of so serious 
and intense a nature, — the young priest had thought little 
of his sister ; in truth, men perhaps of that fervent order 
of mind which is ever aspiring above earth, are but little 
prone to the earthlier affections ; and it had been long since 
Apsecidee had sought those soft and friendly interchanges 
of thought, those sweet confidences, which in his earlier 
youth had bound him to lone, and which are so natural 
to that endearing connection which existed between 
them. 

lone, however, had not ceased to regret his estrange- 
ment: she attributed it, at present, to the engrossing 
duties of his severe fraternity. And often, amidst all her 
bright hopes, and her new attachment to her betrothed-* 



194 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

often, when she thought of her brother's brow prema- 
turely farrowed, his unsmiling lip, and bendeti frame, she 
sighed to think that the service of the gods could throw so 
deep a shadow over that earth which the gods created. 

But this day when he visited her there was a strange 
calmness on his features, a more quiet and self-possessed 
expression in his sunken eyes, than she had marked for 
years. This apparent improvement was but momentary 
— it was a false calm, which the least breeze could 
ruffle. 

" May the gods bless thee, my brother ! " said she, em- 
bracing him. 

" The gods ! Speak not thus vaguely ; perchance there 
is but one God ! " 

"My brother!" 

" What if the sublime faith of the Nazarene be true ? 
What if G-od be a monarch — One — Invisible — Alone ? 
What if these numerous, countless deities, whose altars 
fill the earth, be but evil demons, seeking to wean us from 
the true creed ? This may be the case, lone ! " 

" Alas ! can we believe it ? or if we believed, would it 
not be a melancholy faith ? " answered the Neapolitan. 
" What ! all this beautiful world made only human ! — the 
mountain disenchanted of its Oread — the waters of their 
Nymph — that beautiful prodigality of faith, which makes 
everything divine, consecrating the meanest flowers, bear- 
ing celestial whispers in the faintest breeze — wouldst thou 
deny this, and make the earth mere dust and clay ? No, 
Apcecides; all that is brightest in our hearts is that 
very credulity which peoples the universe with gods." 

lone answered as a believer in the poesy of the old my- 
thology would answer. We may judge by that reply how 
obstinate and hard the contest which Christianity had to 
endure among the heathens. The Graceful Superstition 
was never silent; every, the most household, action of 
their lives was entwined with it, — it was a portion of life 
itself, as the flowers are a part of the thyrsus. At every 
incident they recurred to a god, every cup of wine was 
prefaced by a libation : the very garlands on their thresh- 
olds were dedicated to some divinity ; their ancestors 
themselves, made holy, presided as Lares over their hearth 
and hall. So abundant was belief with them, that in their 
own climes, at this hour, idolatry has never thoroughly 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 195 

been outrooted : it changes bnt its objects of worship ; it 
appeals to innumerable saints where once it resorted to 
divinities ; and its pours its crowds, in listening reverence, 
to oracles at the shrines of St. Januarius or St. Stephen, 
instead of to those of Isis or Apollo. 

But these superstitions were not to the early Christians 
the object of contempt so much as of horror. They did 
not believe, with the quiet scepticism of the heathen philo- 
sopher, that the gods were inventions of the priests ; nor 
even, with the vulgar, that, according to the dim light of 
history, they had been mortals like themselves. They 
imagined the heathen divinities to be evil spirits — they 
transplanted to Italy and to Greece the gloomy demons 
of India and the East ; and in Jupiter or in Mars they 
shuddered at the representative of Moloch or of Satan.* 

Apsecides had not yet adopted formally the Christian 
faith, but he was already on the brink of it. He already 
participated the doctrines of Olinthus — he already ima- 
gined that the lively imaginations of the heathen were the 
suggestions of the arch-enemy of mankind. The innocent 
and natural answer of lone made him shudder. He 
hastened to reply vehemently, and yet so confusedly, that 
lone feared for his reason more than she dreaded his 
violence. 

" Ah, my brother ! " said she, " these hard duties of 
thine have .shattered thy very sense. Come to me, 
Apsecides, my brother, my own brother ; give me thy hand, 
let me wipe the dew from thy brow ; — chide me not now, 
I understand thee not ; think only that lone could not 
offend thee ! " 

" lone," said Apsecides, drawing her towards him, and 
regarding her tenderly, " can I think that this beautiful 
form, this kind heart, may be destined to an eternity of 
torment ? " 

" Dii meliora ! the gods forbid ! " said lone, in the 
customary form of words by which her contemporaries 
thought an omen might be averted. 

* In Pompeii, a rough sketch of Pluto delineates that fearful deity in 
the shape we at present ascribe to the devil, and decorates him with the 
paraphernalia of horns and a tail. But, in all probability, it was from the 
mysterious Pan, the haunter of solitary places, the inspirer of vague and 
eoul-shaking terrors, that we took the vulgar notion of the outward likeness 
of the fiend ; it corresponds exactly to the cloven-footed Satan. And in the 
lewd and profligate rites of Pan, Christians might well imagine they 
traced the deceptions of the devil. 

02 



196 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

The words, and still more the superstition they implied, 
wounded the ear of Ap»cides. He rose, mattering to 
himself, turned from the chamber, then, stopping half 
way, gazed wistfully on lone, and extended his arms. 

lone flew to them in joy ; he kissed her earnestly, and 
then he said, — 

" Farewell, my sister ! when we next meet, thou mayst 
be to me as nothing ; take thou, then, this embrace — full 
yet of all the tender reminiscences of childhood, when 
faith and hope, creeds, customs, interests, objects, were 
the same to us. Now, the tie is to be broken ! " 

"With these strange words he left the house. 

The great and severest trial of the primitive Christians 
was indeed this; their conversion separated them from 
their dearest bonds. They could not associate with beings 
whose commonest actions, whose commonest forms of 
speech, were impregnated with idolatry. They shuddered 
at the blessing of love, to their ears it was uttered in a 
demon's name. This, their misfortune, was their strength ; 
if it divided them from the rest of the world, it was to 
unite them proportionally to each other. They were men of 
iron who wrought forth the Word of God, and verily the 
bonds that bound them were of iron also ! 

G-laucus found lone in tears ; he had already assumed 
the sweet privilege to console. He drew from her a recital 
of her interview with her brother ; but in her confused 
account of language, itself so confused to one not prepared 
for it, he was equally at a loss with lone to conceive the 
intentions or the meaning of Apaecides. 

" Hast thou ever heard much," asked she, " of this new 
sect of the Nazarenes, of which my brother spoke ? " 

" I have often heard enough of the votaries," returned 
Glaucus, " but of their exact tenets know I naught, save 
that in their doctrine there seemeth something preter- 
naturally chilling and morose. They live apart from 
their kind ; they affect to be shocked even at our simple 
uses of garlands ; they have no sympathies with the cheer- 
ful amusements of life ; they utter awful threats of the 
coming destruction of the world: they appear, in one 
word, to have brought their unsmiling and gloomy creed 
out of the cave of Trophonius. Yet," continued Glaucus, 
after a slight pause, " they have not wanted men of great 
power and genius, nor converts, even among the Areopa* 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 197 

gites of Athens. Well do I remember to nave heard my 
father speak of one strange guest at Athens, many years 
ago; methinks his name was Paul. My father was 
amongst a mighty crowd that gathered on one of our im- 
memorial hills to hear this sage of the East expound: 
through the wide throng there rang not a single murmur ! 
— the jest and the roar, with which our native orators are 
received, were hushed for him ; — and when on the loftiest 
summit of that hill, raised above the breathless crowd 
below, stood this mysterious visitor, his mien and his 
countenance awed every heart, even before a sound left his 
lips. He was a man, I have heard my father say, of no 
tall stature, but of noble and impressive mien ; his robes 
were dark and ample ; the declining sun, for it was even* 
ing, shone aslant upon his form as it rose aloft, motionless 
and commanding ; his countenance was much worn and 
marked, as of one who had braved alike misfortune and 
the sternest vicissitude of many climes ; but his eyes were 
bright with an almost unearthly fire ; and when he raised 
his arm to speak, it was with the majesty of a man into 
whom the Spirit of a God hath rushed ! 

" ' Men of Athens ! ' he is reported to have said, ' I find 
amongst ye an altar with this inscription — To the un- 
known God. Ye worship in ignorance the same Deity 
I serve. To you unhnovm till now, to you be it now 
revealed.* 

" Then declared that solemn man how this great Maker 
of all things, who had appointed unto man his several 
tribes and his various homes — the Lord of earth and the 
universal heaven, dwelt not in temples made with hands ; 
that His presence, His spirit, were in the air we breathed : 
— our life and our being were with Him. ' Think you,' 
he cried, * that the Invisible is like your statues of gold 
and marble ? Think you that He needeth sacrifice from 
you : He who made heaven and earth ? ' Then spake he 
of fearful and coming times, of the end of tbe world, of a 
second rising of the dead, whereof an assurance had been 
given to man in the resurrection of the mighty Being 
whose religion he came to preach. 

"When he thus spoke, the long-pent murmur went 
forth, and the philosophers that were mingled with the 
people, muttered their sago contempt ; there might you 
have seen the chilling frown of the Stoic, and the Cynic's 



198 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

sneer;* — and the Epicurean, who believeth not even in 
our own Elysium, muttered a pleasant jest, and swept 
laughing through the crowd : but the deep heart of the 
people was touched and thrilled; and they trembled, 
though they knew not why, for verily the stranger had 
the voice and majesty of a man to whom ' The Unknown 
God ' had committed the preaching of His faith." 

lone listened with rapt attention, and the serious and 
earnest manner of the narrator betrayed the impression 
that he himself had received from one who had been 
amongst the audience that on the hill of the heathen Mars 
had heard the first tidings of the word of Christ ! 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE PORTER — THE GIRL — AND THE GLADIATOR. 

The door of Diome-Vs house stood open, and Medon, the 
old slave, sat at the jotfcom of the steps by which you 
ascended to the mansion. That luxurious mansion of the 
rich merchant of Pompeii is still to be seen just without 
the gates of the city, at the commencement of the Street 
of Tombs ; it was a gay neighbourhood, despite the dead. 
On the opposite side, but at some yards nearer the gate, 
was a spacious hostelry, at which those brought by busi- 
ness or by pleasure to Pompeii often stopped to refresh them- 
selves. In the space before the entrance of the inn now 
stood wagons, and carts, and chariots, some just arrived, 
some just quitting, in all the bustle of an animated and 
popular resort of public entertainment. Before the door, 
some farmers, seated on a bench by a small circular table, 
were talking over their morning cups, on the affairs of 
their calling. On the side of the door itself was painted 
gaily and freshly the eternal sign of the chequers. t By 
the roof of the inn stretched a terrace, on which some 
females, wives of the farmers above mentioned, were, some 
seated, some leaning over the railing, and conversing with 

* "The haughty Cynic scowl' d his grovelling hate, 
And the son; Garden's rose-encircled child 
Smii'd unbelief, and shudder'd as he smil'd." 

Praed : Prize Poem, "Athens." 
f There is another inn within the walls similarly adorned. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 199 

their friends below. In a deep recess, at a little distance, 
was a covered seat, in which some two or three poorer 
travellers were resting themselves, and shaking the dust 
from their garments. On the other side stretched a wide 
space, originally the burial-ground of a more ancient race 
than the present denizens of Pompeii, and now converted 
into the Ustrinum, or place for the burning of the dead. 
Above this rose the terraces of a gay villa, half hid by 
trees. The tombs themselves, with their graceful and 
varied shapes, the flowers and the foliage that surrounded 
them, made no melancholy feature in the prospect. Hard 
by the gate of the city, in a small niche, stood the still form 
of the well-disciplined Roman sentry, the sun shining 
brightly on his polished crest, and the lance on which he 
leaned. The gate itself was divided into three arches, the 
centre one for vehicles, the others for the foot-passengers ; 
and on either side rose the massive walls which girt the 
city, composed, patched, repaired at a thousand different 
epochs, according as war, time, or the earthquake had 
shattered that vain protection. At frequent intervals rose 
square towers, whoso summits broke in picturesque rude- 
ness the regular line of the wall, and contrasted well with 
the modern buildings gleaming whitely by. 

The curving road, which in that direction leads from 
Pompeii to Herculaneum, wound out of sight amidst hang- 
ing vines, above which frowned the sullen majesty of 
Vesuvius. 

" Hast thou heard the news, old Medon ? " said a young 
woman, with a pitcher in her hand, as she paused by 
Diomed's door to gossip a moment with the slave, ere she 
repaired to the neighbouring inn to fill the vessel, and 
coquet with the travellers. 

" The news ! what news ? " said the slave, raising his 
eyes moodily from the ground. 

" Why, there passed through the gate this morning, no 
doubt ere thou wert well awake, such a visitor to 
Pompeii ! " 

" Ay," said the slave, indifferently. 

" Yes, a present from the noble Pomponianus." 

" A present ! I thought thou saidst a visitor ? " 

"It is both visitor and present. Know, dull and 
stupid ! that it is a most beautiful young tiger, for our ap- 
proaching games in the amphitheatre. Hear you that 



200 THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 



Hedon? Oh, what pleasure ! I declare I shall not sleep » 
wink till I see it ; thev sav it has such a roar! " 

" Poor fool ! " said Hedon, sadly and cynically. 

** Fool me no fool, old churl ! It is a pretty thing, a- 
tiger, especially if we could but find somebody for him to 
eat. Tie hare now a lion and a tiger : only consider that, 
Hedon! and for want of two good criminals perhaps we 
shall be forced to see them eat each other. By-the-by, 
your son is a gladiator, a handsome man and a strong, can 
yon not persuade him to fight the tiger ? Do now, you 
would oblige me mightily ; nay, you would be a benefactor 
to the whole town." 

"Yah! yah !" said the slave, with great asperity; "think 
of thine own danger ere thou thus pratest of my poor dot's 
death. 9 ' 

** My own danger ! " said the girl, frightened and looking 
hastily round — •'Avert the omen! let thy words fall on 
thine own head ! " And the girl, as she spoke, touched a 
talisman suspended round her neck. "'Thine own danger! 9 
what danger threatens me ? " 

" Had the earthquake but a few nights since no warn- 
ing r " said Medon. ** Has it not a voice r Did it not say 
to us all, * Prepare for death ; the end of all things is at 
hand?'" 

" Bah, stuff ! " said the young woman, settling the folds 
of her tunic. " Now thou talkest as they say the Xazarenes 
talk — methinks thou art one of them. Well, I can prate 
with thee, grey croaker, no more : thou growest worse and 
worse — Yah ! O Hercules, send us a man for the lion — 
and another for the tiger ! 

44 Ho! ho! for the merry, carry show, 
"With a fewest of tux* m nrtr? f*w '. 
La, the nror&a:?!*, bold at t£e wn of Akmzna, 
Sweep, ode by side, o'er the bethed arena ; 
TzYjl vhi> jctj may — you wall hjAd your breath 
When they In*** in the gratp of the g'oviiig dead. 
Tramp, tramp, bow gaily they go! 
Ho ! no ! for the merry, 'merry ihov ! " 

Chanting in a silver and clear roice this feminine ditty, 
and holding up her tunic from the dusty road, the young 
woman stepped lightly across to the crowded hostelry. 

" 3Iy poor son ! " said the slave, half aloud, " is it for 
things like this thou art to he butchered ? Oh ! faith of 
Christ, I could worship thee in all sincerity, were it but for 
the horror which thou inspirest for these bloody lists." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 201 

The old man's head sank dejectedly on his breast. Ho 
remained silent and absorbed, but every now and then with 
the corner of his sleeve he wiped his eyes. His heart was 
with his son ; he did not see the figure that now approached 
from the gate with a quick step, and a somewhat fierce and 
reckless gait and carriage. He did not lift his eyes till the 
figure paused opposite the place where he sat, and with a 
soft voice addressed him by the name of — 

"Father!" 

" My boy ! my Lydon ! is it indeed thou ? " said the old 
man, joyfully. " Ah, thou wert present to my thoughts." 

" I am glad to hear it, my father," said the gladiator, 
respectfully touching the knees and beard of the slave; 
"and soon may I be always present with thee, not in 
thought only." 

" Yes, my son — but not in this world," replied the slave, 
mournfully. 

" Talk not thus, my sire ! look cheerfully, for I feel so 
— I am sure that I shall win the day ; and then, the gold I 
gain buys thy freedom. Oh ! my father, it was but a few 
days since that I was taunted, by one, too, whom I would 
gladly have undeceived, for ho is more generous than the 
rest of his equals. He is not Roman — he is of Athens — by 
him I was taunted with the lust of gain — when I demanded 
what sum was the prize of victory. Alas ! he little knew 
the soul of Lydon ! " 

" My boy ! my boy ! " said the old slave, as, slowly ascend- 
ing the steps, he conducted his son to his own little 
chamber, communicating with the entrance hall (which in 
this villa was the peristyle, not the atrium) : — you may see 
it now ; it is the third door to the right on entering. (The 
first door conducts to the staircase ; the second is but a 
false recess, in which there stood a statue of bronze.) 
" Generous, affectionate, pious as are thy motives," said 
Mcdon, when they were thus secured from observation, 
" thy deed itself is guilt : thou art to risk thy blood for 
thy father's freedom — that might bo forgiven ; but the prize 
of victory is the blood of another. Oh, that is a deadly sin ; 
no object can purify it. Forbear ! forbear ! rather would I 
be a slave for ever than purchase liberty on such terms ! " 

" Hush, my father ! ' replied Lydon, somewhat im- 
patiently ; " thou hast picked up in this new creed of thine, 
of which I pray thee not to speak to me, for the gods that 



202 THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEII. 

gave me strength denied me wisdom, and I understand not 
one word of what thou often preachest to me, — thou hast 
picked up, I say, in this new creed, some singular fantasies 
of right and wrong. Pardon me if I offend thee : but reflect ! 
Against whom shall I contend ? Oh ! couldst thou know 
those wretches with whom, for thy sake, I assort, thou 
wouldst think I purified earth by removing one of them. 
Beasts, whose very lips drop blood ; things, all savage, un- 
principled in their very courage : ferocious, heartless, sense- 
less ; no tie of life can bind them : they know not fear, it 
is true — but neither know they gratitude, nor charity, nor 
love ; they are made but for their own career, to slaughter 
without pity, to die without dread ! Can thy gods, whosoever 
they be, look with wrath on a conflict with such as these, and 
in such a cause ? Oh, my father, wherever the powers above 
gaze down on earth, they behold no duty so sacred, so 
sanctifying, as the sacrifice offered to an aged parent by 
the piety of a grateful son ! " 

The poor old slave, himself deprived of the lights of know- 
ledge, and only late a convert to the Christian faith, knew 
not with what arguments to enlighten an ignorance at once 
so dark, and yet so beautiful in its error. His first impulse 
was to throw himself on his son's breast — his next to start 
away — to wring his hands ; and in the attempt to reprove, 
his broken voice lost itself in weeping. 

"And if," resumed Lydon, — "if thy Deity (methinks 
thou wilt own but one ?) be indeed that benevolent and 
pitying Power which thou assertest Him to be, He will 
know also that thy very faith in Him first confirmed me in 
that determination thou blames t." 

" How ! what mean you ? " said the slave. 

" Why, thou knowest that I, sold in my childhood as a 
slave, was set set free at Rome by the will of my master, 
whom I had been fortunate enough to please. I hastened 
to Pompeii to see thee — I found thee already aged and 
infirm, under the yoke of a capricious and pampered lord — 
thou hadst lately adopted this new faith, and its adoption 
made thy slavery doubly painful to thee ; it took away all 
the softening charm of custom, which reconciles us so often 
to the worst. Didst thou not complain to me that thou 
wert compelled to offices that were not odious to thee as a 
slave, but guilty as a Xazarene ? Didst thou not tell me 
that thy soul shook with remorse when thou wert compelled 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 203 

to place even a crumb of cake before the Lares that watch 
over yon impl avium ? that thy soul was torn by a perpetual 
struggle ? Didst thou not tell me that even by pouring 
wine before the threshold, and calling on the name of some 
Grecian deity, thou didst fear thou wert incurring penalties 
worse than those of Tantalus, an eternity of tortures more 
terrible than those of the Tartarian fields? Didst thou not 
tell me this ? I wondered, I could not comprehend ; nor, 
by Hercules ! can I now : but I was thy son, and my sole 
task was to compassionate and relieve. Could I hear thy 
groans, could I witness thy mysterious horrors, thy constant 
anguish, and remain inaetive ? No ! by the immortal gods ! 
the thought struck me like light from Olympus ! I had no 
money, but I had strength and youth — these were thy gifts 
— I could sell these in my turn for thee ! I learned the 
amount of thy ransom — I learned that the usual prize of a 
victorious gladiator would doubly pay it. I became a 
gladiator — I linked myself with those accursed men, scorn- 
ing, loathing, while I joined — I acquired their skill — blessed 
be the lesson ! — it shall teach me to free my father ! " 

" Oh, that thou couldst hear Olinthus ! " sighed the old 
man, more and more affected by the virtue of his son, but 
not less strongly convinced of the criminality of his 
purpose. 

" I will hear the whole world talk if thou wilt," answered 
the gladiator, gaily ; " but not till thou art a slave no more. 
Beneath thy own roof, my father, thou shalt pnzzle this 
dull brain all day long, ay, and all night too, if it give thee 
pleasure. Oh, such a spot as I have chalked out for thee ! 
— it is one of the nine hundred and ninety-nine shops of 
old Julia Felix, in the sunny part of the city, where thou 
mayst bask before the door in the day — and I will sell the 
oil and the wine for thee, my father — and then, please 
Venus (or if it does not please her, since thou lovest not 
her name, it is all one to Lydon ;) — then, I say, perhaps 
thou mayst have a daughter, too, to tend thy grey hairs, 
and hear shrill voices at thy knee, that shall call thee 
4 Ly don's father! ' Ah! we shall be so happy — the prize 
can purchase all. Cheer thee ! cheer up, my sire ! — And 
now I must away — day wears — the lanista waits me. 
Come ! thy blessing ! " 

As Lydon thus spoke, he had already quitted the dark 
chamber of his father ; and speaking eagerly, though in a 



204 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

whispered tone, they now stood at the same place in which 
we introduced the porter at his post. 

" bless thee ! bless thee, my brave boy ! " said Medon, 
fervently ; " and may the great Power that reads all hearts 
see the nobleness of thine, and forgive its error ! " 

The tall shape of the gladiator passed swiftly down the 
path ; the eyes of the slave followed its light but stately 
steps, till the last glimpse was gone ; and then, sinking 
once more on his seat, his eyes again fastened themselves 
on the ground. His form, mute and unmoving, as a thing 
of stone. His heart ! — who, in our happier age, can even 
imagine its struggles — its commotion ? 

"May I enter r " said a sweet voice. " Is thy mistress 
Julia within? " 

The slave mechanically motioned to the visitor to enter, 
but she who addressed him could not see the gesture — she 
repeated her question timidly, but in a louder voice. 

" Have I not told thee ! " said the slave, peevishly : 
" enter." 

" Thanks," said the speaker, plaintively ; and the slave, 
roused bv the tone, looked up, and recognised the blind 
flower-girl. Sorrow can sympathise with affliction — he 
raised himself, and guided her steps to the head of the 
adjacent staircase (by which you descended to Julia's 
apartment), where, summoning a female slave, he consigned 
to her the charge of the blind girl. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE DRESSING-ROOM OF A POMPEIAN BEAUTY. — IMPORTANT 
CONVERSATION BETWEEN JULIA AND NYDIA. 

The elegant Julia sat in her chamber, with her slaves 
around her ; — like the cubiculum which adjoined it, the 
room was small, but much larger than the usual apartments 
appropriated to sleep, which was so diminutive, that few 
who have not seen the bed-chambers, even in thf gayest 
mansions, can form any notion of the petty pigeilh-holes 
in which the citizens of Pompeii evidently thought it 
desirable to pass the night. But, in fact, " bed " with the 
ancients was not that grave, serious, and important part of 
domestic mysteries which it is with us. The couch itself 



THE LAST DATS OF POMPEIL 205 

iras more like a very narrow and small sofa, light enough 
to be transported easily, and by the occupant himself,* 
from place to place; and it was, no doubt, constantly 
shifted from chamber to chamber, according to the caprices 
of the inmate, or the changes of the season ; for thai side 
of the house which was crowded in one month, might, 
perhaps, be carefully avoided in the next. There was also 
among the Italians of that period a singular and fasti- 
dious apprehension of too much daylight ; their darkened 
chambers, which first appear to us the result of a negligent 
architecture, were the effect of the most elaborate study. 
In their porticoes and gardens they courted the sun when- 
ever it so pleased their luxurious tastes. In the interior of 
their houses they sought rather the coolness and the shade. 

Julia's apartment at that season was in the lower part of 
the house, immediately beneath the state rooms above, and 
looking upon the garden, with which it was on a leveL 
The wide door, which was glazed, alone admitted the morn- 
ing rays : yet her eye, .accustomed to a certain darkness, 
was sufficiently acute to perceive exactly what colours were 
the most becoming — what shade of the delicate rouge gave 
the brightest beam to her dark glance, and the most youth- 
ful freshness to her cheek. 

On the table, before which she sat, was a small and cir- 
cular mirror of the most polished steel : round which, in 
precise order, were ranged the cosmetics and the unguents 
— the perfumes and the paints — the jewels and the combs 
— the ribands and the gold pins, winch were destined to 
add to the natural attractions of beauty the assistance of 
art and the capricious allurementsof fashion. Through the 
dimness of the room glowed brightly the vivid and various 
colourings of the wall, in all the dazzling frescoes of 
Pompeian taste. Before the dressing-table, and under the 
feet of Julia, was spread a carpet, woven from the looms of 
the East. Sear at hand, on another table, was a silver 
basin and ewer ; an extinguished lamp, of most exquisite 
workmanship, in which the artist had represented a Cupid 
reposing under the spreading branches of a myrtle-tree; 
and a small roll of papyrus, containing the softest elegies 
of Tubulins. Before the door, which communicated with 



Take *» lay bed and walk" in (a* Sir W. GtUm*wfcov etame) as 




206 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

the cubiculum, hung a curtain richly broidered with gold 
flowers. Such was the dressing-room of a beauty eighteen 
centuries ago. 

The fair Julia leaned indolently back on her seat, while 
the ornatrix (i. e., hairdresser) slowly piled, one above the 
other, a mass of small curls, dexterously weaving the false 
with the true, and carrying the whole fabric to a height 
that seemed to place the head rather at the centre than the 
summit of the human form. 

Her tunic, of a deep amber, which well set off her dark 
hair and somewhat embrowned complexion, swept in ample 
folds to her feet, which were cased in slippers, fastened 
round the slender ankle by white thongs ; while a profusion 
of pearls were embroidered in the slipper itself, which was 
of purple, and turned slightly upward, as do the Turkish 
slippers at this day. An old slave, skilled by long ex- 
perience in all the arcana of the toilet, stood beside the 
hairdresser, with the broad and studied girdle of her mis- 
tress over her arm, and giving, from time to time (mingled 
with judicious flattery to the lady herself), instructions to 
the mason of the ascending pile. 

** Put that pin rather more to the right — lower — stupid 
one ! Do you not observe how even those beautiful eye- 
brows are ? — One would think you were dressing Corinna, 
whose face is all of one side. Now put in the flowers — 
what, fool ! — not that dull pink — you are not suiting colours 
to the dim cheek of Chloris: it must be the brightest 
flowers that can alone suit the cheek of the young Julia." 

" Gently ! " said the lady, stamping her small foot 
violently : " you pull my hair as if you were plucking up a 
weed!" 

" Dull thing ! " continued the directress of the ceremony. 
" Do you not know how delicate is your mistress ? — you 
are not dressing the coarse horsehair of the widow Fulvia. 
Now, then, the riband — that's right. Fair Julia, look in 
the mirror ; saw you ever anything so lovely as yourself ? " 

When, after innumerable comments, difficulties, and 
delays, the intricate tower was at length completed, the 
next preparation was that of giving to the eyes the soft 
languish, produced by a dark powder applied to the lids 
and brows ; a small patch cut in the form of a crescent, 
skilfully placed by the rosy tips, attracted attention to their 
dimples, and to the teeth, to which already every art had 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 207 

Deen applied in order to heighten the dazzle of their natural 
whiteness. 

To another slave, hitherto idle, was now consigned the 
charge of arranging the jewels — the ear-rings of pearl (two 
to each ear) — the massive bracelets of gold — the chain 
formed of rings of the same metal, to which a talisman cut 
in crystals was attached — the graceful buckle on the left 
shoulder, in which was set an exquisite cameo of Psyche — 
the girdle of purple riband, richly wrought with threads of 
gold, and clasped by interlacing serpents — and lastly, the 
various rings, fitted to every joint of the white and slender 
fingers. The toilet was now arranged according to the last 
mode of Home. The fair Julia regarded herself with a last 
gaze of complacent vanity, and reclining again upon her 
seat, she bade the youngest of her slaves, in a listless tone, 
read to her the enamoured couplets of Tibullus. This lec- 
ture was still proceeding, when a female slave admitted 
Nydia into the presence of the lady of the place. 

" Salve, Julia ! " said the flower-girl, arresting her steps 
within a few paces from the spot where Julia sat, and cross- 
ing her arms upon her breast. " I have obeyed your 
commands/ 9 

" You have done well, flower-girl,' ' answered the lady. 
" Approach — you may take a seat." 

One of the slaves placed a stool by Julia, and Nydia 
seated herself. 

Julia looked hard at the Thessalian for some moments in 
rather an embarrassed silence. She then motioned her 
attendants to withdraw, and to close the door. When they 
were alone, she said, looking mechanically from Nydia, and 
forgetful that she was with one who could not observe her 
countenance, — 

" You serve the Neapolitan, lone ? " 

" I am with her at present," answered Nydia. 

" Is she as handsome as they say ? " 

" I know not," replied Nydia. " How can I judge ? " 

"Ah ! I should have remembered. But thou hast ears, 
if not eyes. Do thy fellow-slaves tell thee she is hand- 
some ? Slaves talking with one another forget to flatter 
even their mistress." 

" They tell me that she is beautiful." 

" Hem !— say they that she is tall P " 

"Yes." 



208 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

"Why, so am L— Dark haired ? " 

" I have heard so." 

u So am L And doth Glaucus visit her much ? " 

u Daily," returned Nydia, with a half-suppressed sigh. 

" Dailv, indeed ! Does he find her handsome ? " 

" I should think so, since they are so soon to be wedded." 

'* Wedded ! " cried Julia, turning pale even through the 
false roses on her cheek, and starting from her couch. 
Nydia did not, of course, perceive the emotion she had 
caused. Julia remained a long time silent ; but her heav- 
ing breast and flashing eyes would have betrayed, to one 
who could have seen, the wound her vanity had sustained. 

" They tell me thou art a Thessalian," said she, at last 
breaking silence. 
Andtruly!" 

Thessaly is the land of magic and of witches, of talis- 
mans and of love-philtres, 9 ' said Julia. 

" It has ever boen celebrated for its sorcerers," returned 
Nydia, timidly. 

"Knowest thou, then, blind Thessalian, of any love- 
charms?" 

" I ! " said the flower-girl, colouring ; " I! how should 
I ? No, assuredly not ! " 

"The worse for thee; I could have given thee gold 
enough to have purchased thy freedom hadst thou been 






more wise." 

u 



Bat what," asked Nydia, " can induce the beautiful and 
wealthy Julia to ask that question of her servant ? Has 
she not money, and youth, and loveliness ? Are they not 
love-charms enough to dispense with magic ? " 

" To all but one person in the world," answered Julia, 
haughtily: "but methinks thy blindness is infectious; 
and But no matter." 

" And that one person ? " said Nydia, eagerly. 

** Is not Glaucus," replied Julia, with the customary 
deceit of her sex. " Glaucus — no \ " 

Nydia drew her breath more freely, and after a short 
pause Julia recommenced. 

"But fa.1Viwpr of Glaucus, and his attachment to this 
Neapolitan, reminded me of the influence of love-spells, 
which, for aught I know or care, she may have exercised 
upon him. Blind girl, I love, and — shall Julia live to say 
it? — am loved not in return! This humbles — nay, not 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 209 

htimbles — but it stings my pride. I would see this ingrate at 
my feet — not in order that I might raise, but that I might 
Bpurn him. When they told me thou wert Thessalian, I 
imagined thy young mind might have learned the dark 
secrets of thy clime." 

" Alas ! no," murmured Nydia : " would it had ! " 

" Thanks, at least, for that kindly wish," said Julia, 
unconscious of what was passing in the breast of the 
flower-girl. 

"But tell me, — thou hearest the gossip of slaves, always 
prone to these dim belief s ; always ready to apply to sorcery 
for their own low loves, — hast thou ever heard of any 
Eastern magician in this city, who possesses the art of 
which thou art ignorant? No vain chiromancer, no 
juggler of the market-place, but some more potent and 
mighty magician of India or of Egypt ? " 

" Of Egypt P— yes ! " said Nydia, shuddering. " What 
Pompeian has not heard of Arbaces ? " 

" Arbaces ! true," replied Julia, grasping at the recol- 
lection. " They say he is a man above all the petty and 
false impostures of dull pretenders, — that he is versed in 
the learning of the stars, and the secrets of the ancient 
Nox ; why not in the mysteries of love ? " 

" If there be one magician living whose art is above that 
of others, it is that dread man," answered Nydia ; and she 
felt her talisman while she spoke. 

" He is too wealthy to divine for money ? " continued 
Julia, sneeringly. " Can I not visit him ? " 

"It is an evil mansion for the young and *he beau- 
tiful," replied Nydia. " I have heard, too, that he languishes 
in " 

" An evil mansion ! " said Julia, catching only the first 
sentence. " Why so ? " 

"The orgies of his midnight leisure are impure and 
polluted — at least, so says rumour." 

" By Ceres, by Pan, and by Cybele ! thou dost but pro- 
voke my curiosity, instead of exciting my fears," returned 
the wayward and pampered Pompeian. " I will seek and 
question him of his lore. If to these orgies love be ad- 
mitted — why the more likely that he knows its secrets ! " 

Nydia did not answer. 

"I will seek him this very day," resumed Julia; "nay 
why not this very hour ? " 

J? 



/ 



210 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPElL 

" At daylight, and in his present state, thou hast as- 
suredly the less to fear," answered Nydia, yielding to her 
own sudden and secret wish to learn if the dark Egyp- 
tian were indeed possessed of those spells to rivet and 
attract love, of which the Thessalian had so often heard. 

" And who dare insult the rich daughter of Diomed ? 
said Julia, haughtily. " I will go." 

" May I visit thee afterwards to learn the result ? n 
asked Nydia, anxiously. 

" Kiss me for thy interest in Julia's honour," answered 
the ladv. " Yes, assuredly. This eve we sup abroad — 
came hither at the same hour to-morrow, and thou shalt 
know all : I may have to employ thee too ; but enough 
for the present. Stay, take this bracelet for the new 
thought thou hast inspired me with ; remember, if thou 
servest Julia, she is grateful and she is .generous." 

" I cannot take thy present," said Nydia, putting aside 
the bracelet ; " but young as I am, I can sympathise un- 
bought with those who love — and love in vain." 

" Sayest thou so ! " returned Julia. Thou speakest like 
a free woman — and thou shalt yet be free — farewell ! " 



CHAPTER VIII. 

JULIA SEEK8 ARBACES. — THE RESULT OP THAT INTERVIEW. 

Arbaces was seated in a chamber which opened on a 
kind of balcony or portico that fronted his garden. His 
cheek was pale and worn with the sufferings he had 
endured, but his iron frame had already recovered from 
the severest effects of that accident which had frustrated 
his fell designs in the moment of victory. The air that 
came fragrantly to his brow revived his languid senses, and 
the blood circulated more freely than it had done for days 
through his shrunken veins. 

" So, then," thought he, " the storm of fate has broken 
and blown over, — the evil which my lore predicted, 
threatening life itself, has chanced — and yet I live ! It 
came as the stars foretold ; and now the long, bright, and 
prosperous career which was to succeed that evil, if I sur- 
vived it, smiles beyond : I have passed — I have subdued 
ho latest danger of my destiny. Now I have but to lay 



THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEIL 211 

out the gardens of my future fate — unterrified and secure. 
First, then, of all my pleasures, even before that of love, 
shall come revenge ! This boy Greek — who has crossed 
my passion — thwarted my designs — baffled me even when 
the blade was about to drink his accursed blood — shall not 
a second time escape me ! But for the method of my ven- 
geance ? Of that let me ponder well ! Oh ! Ate, if thou 
art indeed a goddess, fill me with thy direst inspiration ! " 
The Egyptian sank into an intent reverie, which did not 
seem to present to him any clear or satisfactory sugges- 
tions. He changed his position restlessly, as he revolved 
scheme after scheme, which no sooner occurred than it 
was dismissed; several times he struck his breast and 
groaned aloud, with the desire of vengeance, and a sense 
of his impotence to accomplish it. While thus absorbed, 
a boy slave timidly entered the chamber. 

A female, evidently of rank from her dress, and that of 
the single slave who attended her, waited below and sought 
an audience with Arbaces. 

" A female ! " his heart beat quick. " Is she young ? " 

" Her face is concealed by her veil ; but her form is 
slight, yet round, as that of youth." 

" Admit her," said the Egyptian ; for a moment his vain 
heart dreamed the stranger might be lone. 

The first glance of the visitor now entering the apart- 
ment sufficed to underceive so erring a fancy. True, she 
was about the same height as lone, and perhaps the same 
age — true, she was finely and richly formed — but where 
was that undulating and ineffable grace which accompanied 
every motion of the peerless Neapolitan — the chaste and 
decorous garb, so simple even in the care of its arrange- 
ment — the dignified yet bashful step — the majesty of 
womanhood and its modesty ? " 

" Pardon me that I rise with pain," said Arbaces, gazing 
on the stranger: "I am still suffering from recent 
illness." 

" Do not disturb thyself, O great Egyptian 1 " returned 
Julia, seeking to disguise the tear she already experienced 
beneath the ready resort of flattery; "and forgive an 
unfortunate female, who seeks consolation from thy 
wisdom." 

" Draw near, fair stranger," said Arbaces ; " and speak 
without apprehension or reserve." 

r 2 



fcia THE LAST DAYS OF tOMPEtt. 

Julia placed herself on a seat beside the Egyptian, and 
wonderingly gazed around an apartment whose elaborate 
and costly luxuries shamed even the ornate enrichment of 
her father's mansion; fearfully, too, she regarded the 
hieroglyphical inscriptions on the walls — the faces of the 
mysterious images, which at every corner gazed upon her 
— the tripod at a little distance — and, above all, the grave 
and remarkable countenance of Arbaces himself : a long 
white robe like a veil half covered his raven locks, and 
flowed to his feet : his face was made even more im- 
pressive by its present paleness ; and his dark and 
penetrating eyes seemed to pierce the shelter of her 
veil, and explore the secrets of her vain and unfeminine 
soul. 

" And what," said his low, deep voice, " brings thee, O 
maiden ! to the house of the Eastern stranger ? " 

" His fame," replied Julia. 

" In what ? " said he, with a strange and slight smile. 

" Canst thou ask, O wise Arbaces r Is not thy know- 
ledge the very gossip theme of Pompeii ? " 

" Some little lore have I, indeed, treasured up," replied 
Arbaces ; " but in what can such serious and sterile secrets 
benefit the ear of beauty ? " 

" Alas ! " said Julia, a little cheered by the accustomed 
accents of adulation ; " does not sorrow fly to wisdom for 
relief, and they who love unrequitedly, are not they the 
chosen victims of grief ? " 

" Ha ! " said Arbaces, " can unrequited love be the lot 
of so fair a form, whose modelled proportions are visible 
even beneath the folds of thy graceful robe ? Deign, O 
maiden ! to lift thy veil, that I may see at least if the face 
correspond in loveliness with the form." 

Not unwilling, perhaps, to exhibit her charms, and 
thinking they were likely to interest the magician in her 
fate, Julia, after some slight hesitation, raised her veil, 
and revealed a beauty which, but for art, had been in- 
deed attractive to the fixed gaze of the Egyptian. 

" Thou comest to me for advice in unhappy love," said 
he ; " well, turn that face on the ungrateful one : what 
other love-charm can I give thee? " 

" Oh, cease these courtesies ! " said Julia ; " it is a love- 
charm, indeed, that I would ask from thy skill ? " 
ff Fair stranger ! " replied Arbaces, somewhat scorn- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 213 

folly, "love-spells are not among the secrets I have wasted 
the midnight oil to attain." 

" Is it indeed so ? Then pardon me, great Arbaces, and 
farewell!" 

" Stay," said Arbaces, who, despite his passion for lone, 
was not unmoved by the beanty of his visitor ; and had he 
been in the flush of a more assured health, might have 
attempted to console the fair Julia by other means than 
those of supernatural wisdom, — 

" Stay ; although I confess that I have left the witchery 
of philtres and potions to those whose trade is in such 
knowledge, yet am I myself not so dull to beauty but that 
in earlier youth I may have employed them in my own 
behalf. I may give thee advice, at least, if thou wilt be 
candid with me. Tell me then, first, art thou unmarried, 
as thy dress betokens ? " 

"Yes," said Julia. 

" And, being unblest with fortune, wouldst thou allure 
some wealthy suitor ? " 

" I am richer than he who disdains me." 

" Strange and more strange ! And thou lovest him who 
loves not thee ? " 

" I know not if I love him," answered Julia, haughtily ; 
"but I know that I would see myself triumph over a 
rival — I would see him who rejected me my suitor — I 
would see her whom he has preferred, in her turn 
despised." 

" A natural ambition and a womanly," said the Egyp- 
tian, in a tone too grave for irony. "Yet more, fair 
maiden ; wilt thou confide to me the name of thy lover ? 
Can he be Pompeian, and despise wealth, even if blind to 
beauty ? " 

" He is of Athens," answered Julia, looking down. 

" Ha ! " cried the Egyptian, impetuously, as the blood 
rushed to his cheek ; " there is but one Athenian, young 
and noble, in Pompeii. Can it be Glaucus of whom thou 
speakest ! " 

" Ah ! betray me not — so indeed they call him." 

The Egyptian sank back, gazing vacantly on the averted 
face of the merchant's daughter, and muttering inly to 
himself: — this conference, with which he had hitherto 
only trifled, amusing himself with the credulity and 
vanity of his visitor — might it not minister to his revenge? 



£14 THE LAST DATS OF POMPEH. 

" I see thou canst assist me not," said Julia, offended by 
bis continued silence ; " guard at least my secret. Once 
more, farewell ! " 

" Maiden/' said the Egyptian, in an earnest and serious 
tone, " tby suit hath touched me — I will minister to thy 
wilL Listen to me ; I have not myself dabbled in these 
lesser mysteries, but 1 know one who hath. At the base 
of Vesuvius, less than a league from the city, there dwells 
a powerful witch ; beneath the rank dews of the new moon, 
she has gathered the herbs which possess the virtue to 
chain Love in eternal fetters. Her art can bring thy lover 
to thy feet. Seek her, and mention to her the name of 
Arbaccs ; she fears that name, and will give thee her most 
potent philtres." 

" Alas ! " answered Julia, " I know not the road to the 
home of her whom thou speakest of: the way, short 
though it be, is long to traverse for a girl who leaves, un- 
known, the house of her father. The country is entangled 
with wild vines, and dangerous with precipitous caverns. 
I dare not trust to mere strangers to guide me ; the repu- 
tation of women of my rank is easily tarnished — and 
though I care not who knows that I love Glaucus, I 
would not have it imagined that I obtained his love by a 
spell." 

" Were I but three days advanced in health," said the 
Egyptian, rising and walking (as if to try his strength) 
across the chamber, but with irregular and feeble steps, 
" I myself would accompany thee. — Well, thou must 
wait." 

" But Glaucus is soon to wed that hated Neapolitan." 

"Wed!" 

" Yes ; in the early part of next month." 

" So soon ! Art thou well advised of this ? " 

" From tbe lips of her own slave." 

" It shall not be ! " said the Egyptian, impetuously. 
" Fear nothing, Glaucus shall be thine. Yet how, when 
. thou obtainest it, canst thou administer to him this 
potion ? " 

" My father bas invited him, and, I believe, the Neapo- 
litan also, to a banquet, on the day following to-morrow : I 
shall then have the opportunity to administer it." 

" So be it ! " said the Egyptian, with eyes flashing such 
fierce joy, that Julia's gaze sank trembling beneath them. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 215 

" To-morrow eve, then, order thy litter : — thou hast one at 
thy command ? " 

" Surely — yes," returned the purse-proud Julia. 

" Order thy litter — at two miles' distance from the city 
is a house of entertainment, frequented by the wealthiet 
Pompeians, from the excellence of its baths, and the beauty 
of its gardens. There canst thou pretend only to shape 
thy course — there, ill or dying, I will meet thee by the 
statue of Silenus, in the copse that skirts the garden ; and 
I myself will guide thee to the witch. Let us wait till, 
with the evening star, the goats of the herdsmen are gone 
to rest ; when the dark twilight conceals us, and none 
shall cross our steps. Go home, and fear not. By Hades, 
swears Arbaces, the sorcerer of Egypt, that lone shall 
never wed with Grlaucus ! " 

" And that Glaucus shall be mine ? " added Julia, filling 
up the incompleted sentence. 

" Thou hast said it ! " replied Arbacos ; and Julia, half 
frightened at this unhallowed appointment, but urged on 
by jealousy and the pique of rivalship, even more than love, 
resolved to fulfil it. 

Left alone, Arbaces burst forth, — 

" Bright stars that never lie, ye already begin the 
execution of your promises — success in love, and victory 
over foes, for the rest of my smooth existence. In the very 
hour when my mind could devise no clue to the goal of 
vengeance, have ye sent this fair fool for my guide ? " He 
paused in deep thought. " Yes," said he again, but in a 
calmer voice ; " I could not myself have given to her the 
poison, that shall be indeed a philtre ! — his death might be 
thus tracked to my door. But the witch — ay, there is the 
fit, the natural agent of my designs ! " 

He summoned one of his slaves, bade him hasten to 
track the steps of Julia, and acquaint himself with her 
name and condition. This done, he stepped forth into the 
portico. The skies were serene and clear ; but he, deeply 
read in the signs of their various change, beheld in one 
mass of cloud, far on the horizon, which the wind began 
slowly to agitate, that a storm was brooding above. 

" It is like my vengeance," said he, as he gazed ; " the 
sky is clear, but the cloud moves on." 



216 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



CHAPTER IX. 

A STORM IN THE SOUTH. — THE WITCH'S CAVERN. 

It was when the heats of noon died gradually away from 
the earth, that Glaucus and lone went forth to enjoy the 
cooled and grateful air. At that time, various carriages 
were in use among the Romans ; the one most used by the 
richer citizens, when they required no companion in their 
excursions, was the biga, already described in the early 
portion of this work ; that appropriated to the matrons, was 
termed carpeutum,* which had commonly two wheels ; the 
ancients used also a sort of litter, a vast sedan-chair, more 
commodiously arranged than the modern, inasmuch as the 
occupant thereof could lie down at ease, instead of being 
perpendicularly and stiffly jostled up and down.f There was 
another carriage, used both for travelling and for excur- 
sions in the country ; it was commodious, containing three 
or four persons with ease, having a covering which could 
be raised at pleasure ; and, in short, answering very much 
the purpose of (though very different in shape from) the 
modern britska. It was a vehicle of this description that 
the lovers, accompanied by one female slave of lone, now 
used in their excursion. About ten miles from the city, 
there was at that day an old ruin, the remains of a temple, 
evidently Grecian ; and as for Glaucus and lone everything 
Grecian possessed an interest, they had agreed to visit these 
rains : it was thither they were now bound. 

Their road lay among vines and olive-groves ; till, wind- 
ing more and more towards the higher ground of Vesuvius, 
the path grew rugged ; the mules moved slowly, and with 
labour ; and at every opening in the wood they beheld 
those grey and horrent caverns indenting the parched rock, 
which Strabo has described ; but which the various revo- 
lutions of time and the volcano have removed from the 
present aspect of the mountain. The sun, sloping towards 
his descent, cast long and deep shadows over the mountain ; 
here and there they still heard the rustic reed of the 
shepherd amongst copses of the beechwood and wild oak. 

* For public festivals and games they used one more luxurious and costly, 
called piienfum, with four wheels, 
f But they had also the sella, or sedan, in which they sat as wo do. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 21? 

Sometimes they marked the form of the silk-haired and 
graceful capella, with its wreathing horn and bright grey 
eye — which, still beneath Ausonian skies, recalls the 
eclogues of Maro, browsing half-way up the hills ; and the 
grapes, already purple with the smiles of the deepening 
summer, glowed out from the arched festoons, which hung 
pendent from tree to tree. Above them, light clouds 
floated in the serene heavens, sweeping so slowly athwart 
the firmament that they scarcely seemed to stir ; while, on 
their right they caught, ever and anon, glimpses of the 
waveless sea, with some light bark skimming its surface ; 
and the sunlight breaking over the deep in those countless 
and softest hues so peculiar to that delicious sea. 

" How beautiful ! " said Glaucus, in a half -whispered 
tone, " is that expression by which we call Earth our 
Mother ! With what a kindly equal love she pours her 
blessings upon her children ! and even to those sterile spots 
to which Nature has denied beauty, she yet contrives to 
dispense her smiles : witness the arbutus and the vine, 
which she wreathes over the arid and burning soil of yon 
extinct volcano. Ah ! in such an hour and scene as this, 
well might we imagine that the laughing face of the Faun 
should peep forth from those green festoons ; or, that we 
might trace the steps of the Mountain Nymph through the 
thickest mazes of the glade. But the Nymphs ceased, 
beautiful lone, when thou wert created ! " 

There is no tongue that flatters like a lover's ; and yet, 
in the exaggeration of his feelings, flattery seems to him 
commonplace. Strange and prodigal exuberance, which 
soon exhausts itself by overflowing ! 

They arrived at the ruins ; they examined them with 
that fondness with which we trace the hallowed and 
household vestiges of our own ancestry — they lingered there 
till Hesperus appeared in the rosy heavens ; and then re- 
turning homeward in the twilight, they were more silent 
than they had been ; for in the shadow and beneath the 
stars they felt more oppressively their mutual love. 

It was at this time that the storm which the Egyptian 
had predicted began to creep visibly over them. At first, 
a low and distant thunder gave warning of the approaching 
conflict of the elements ; and then rapidly rushed above 
the dark ranks of the serried clouds. The suddenness of 
storms in that climate is something almost preternatural, 



\ 



218 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

and might well suggest to early superstition the potion of 
a divine agency — a few large drops broke heavily among 
the boughs that half overhung their path, and then, swift 
and intolerably bright, the forked lightning darted across 
their very eyes, and was swallowed up by the increasing 
darkness. 

" Swifter, good Carrucarius ! " cried Glaucus to the 
driver ; " the tempest comes on apace." 

The slave urged on the mules — they went swift over the 
uneven and stony road — the clouds thickened, near and 
more near broke the thunder, and fast rushed the dashing 
rain. 

" Dost thou fear ? " whispered Glaucus, as he sought 
excuse in the storm to come nearer to lone. 

" Not with thee," said she, softly. 

At that instant, the carriage, fragile and ill-contrived 
(as, despite their graceful shapes, were, for practical uses, 
most of such inventions at that time), struck violently into 
a deep rut, over which lay a log of fallen wood ; the driver, 
with a curse, stimulated his mules yet faster for the 
obstacle, the wheel was torn from the socket, and the 
carriage suddenly overset. 

Glaucus, quickly extricating himself from the vehicle, 
hastened to assist lone, who was fortunately unhurt ; with 
some difficulty they raised the carruca (or carriage), and 
found that it ceased any longer even to afford them 
shelter; the springs that fastened the covering were 
snapped asunder, and the rain poured fast and fiercely into 
the interior. 

In this dilemma, what was to be done ? They were yet 
some distance from the city — no house, no aid, seemed 
near. 

" There is," said the slave, "a smith about a mile off; 
I could seek him, and he might fasten at least the wheel to 
the carruca — but, Jupiter ! how the rain beats ! my mistress 
will be wet before I come back." 

" Run thither at least," said Glaucus ; " we must find 
the best shelter we can till you return." 

The lane was overshadowed with trees, beneath the 
amplest of which Glaucus drew lone. He endeavoured, by 
stripping his own cloak, to shield her yet more from the 
rapid rain; but it descended with a fury that broke 
through all puny obstacles : and suddenly, while Glaucus 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIT. 219 

was yet whispering courage to his beautiful charge, the 
lightning struck one of the trees immediately before them, 
and split with a mighty crash its huge trunk in twain. 
This awful incident apprised them of the danger they 
braved in their present shelter, and G-laucus looked 
anxiously round for some less perilous place of refuge. 
"We are now," said he, "half-way up the ascent of 
Vesuvius ; there ought to be some cavern, or hollow in the 
vine-clad rocks, could we but find it, in which the desert- 
ing Nymphs have left a shelter." While thus saying he 
moved from the trees, and, looking wistfully towards the 
mountain, discovered through the advancing gloom a red 
and tremulous light at no considerable distance. " That 
must come," said he, "from the hearth of some shepherd 
or vine- dresser — it will guide us to some hospitable retreat. 
Wilt thou stay here, while I — yet no — that would be to 
leave thee to danger." 

" I will go with you cheerfully," said lone. " Open as 
the space seems, it is better than the treacherous shelter of 
these boughs." 

Half leading, half carrying lone, Glaucus, accompanied 
by the trembling female slave, advanced towards the light, 
which yet burned red and stedfastly. At length the space 
was no longer open ; wild vines entangled their steps, and 
hid from them, save by imperfect intervals, the guiding 
beam. But faster and fiercer came the rain, and the 
lightning assumed its most deadly and blasting form ; they 
were still, therefore, impelled onward, hoping, at last, if 
the light eluded them, to arrive at some cottage or some 
friendly cavern. The vines grew more and more intricate 
— the light was entirely snatched from them ; but a narrow 
path, which they trod with labour and pain, guided only by 
the constant and long-lingering flashes of the storm, con- 
tinued to lead them towards its direction. The rain ceased 
suddenly; precipitous and rough crags of scorched lava 
frowned before them, rendered more fearful by the lightning 
that illumined the dark and dangerous soil. Sometimes 
the blaze lingered over the iron-grey heaps of scoria, 
covered in part with ancient mosses or stunted trees, as if 
seeking in vain for some gentler product of earth, more 
worthy of its ire ; and sometimes leaving the whole of that 
part of the scene in darkness, the lightning, broad and 
sheeted, hung redly over the ocean, tossing far below, until 



220 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

its waves seemed glowing into fire ; and so intense was the 
blaze, that it brought vividly into view even the sharp out- 
line of the more distant windings of the bay, from the 
eternal Misenum, with its lofty brow, to the beautiful Sor- 
rentum and the giant hills behind. 

Our lovers stopped in perplexity and doubt, when 
■suddenly, as the darkness that gloomed between the fierce 
flashes of lightning once more wrapped them round, they 
saw near, but high, before them, the mysterious light. 
Another blaze, in which heaven and earth were reddened, 
made visible to them the whole expanse : no house was 
near, but just where they had beheld the light, they thought 
they saw in the recess of the cavern the outline of a human 
form. The darkness once more returned ; the light, no longer 
paled beneath the fires of heaven, burned forth again : they 
resolved to ascend towards it ; they had to wind their way 
among vast fragments of stone, here and there overhung 
with wild bushes ; but they gained nearer and nearer to 
the light, and at length they stood opposite the mouth of a 
kind of cavern, apparently formed by huge splinters of 
rock that had fallen transversely athwart each other : and, 
looking into the gloom, each drew back involuntarily with 
a superstitious fear and chill. 

A fire burned in the far recess of the cave ; and over it 
was a small cauldron ; on a tall and thin column of iron 
stood a rude lamp ; over that part of the wall, at the base 
of which burned the fire, hung in many rows, as if to dry, 
a profusion of herbs and weeds. A fox, couched before the 
fire, gazed upon the strangers with its bright and red eye — 
its hair bristling — and a low growl stealing from between 
its teeth ; in the centre of the cave was an earthen statue, 
which had three heads of a singular and fantastic cast : 
they were formed by the real skulls of a dog, a horse, and 
a boar ; a low tripod stood before this wild representation 
of the popular Hecate. 

But it was not these appendages and appliances of the 
cave that thrilled the blood of those who gazed fearfully 
therein — it was the face of its inmate. Before the fire, 
with the light shining full upon her features, sat a woman 
of considerable age. Perhaps in no country are there seen 
so many hags as in Italy — in no country does beauty 
so awfully change, in age, to hideousness the most appalling 
and revolting. But the old woman now before them was 



THE LAST BAYS OP POMPEII. 221 

not one of these specimens of the extreme of human ugli- 
ness ; on the contrary, her countenance betrayed the remains 
of a regular but high and aquiline order of feature : with 
stony eyes turned upon them — with a look that met and 
fascinated theirs — they beheld in that fearful countenance 
the very image of a corpse ! — the same, the glazed and 
lustreless regard, the blue and shrunken lips, the drawu 
and hollow jaw — the dead, lank hair, of a pale grey — the 
livid, green, ghastly skin, which seemed all surely tinged 
and tainted by the grave ! 

" It is a dead thing ! " said Grlaucus. 

" Nay — it stirs — it is a ghost or larva," faltered lone, as 
she clung to the Athenian's breast. 

" Oh, away — away ! " groaned the slave, " it is the Witch 
of Vesuvius ! " 

" Wh« are ye ? " said a hollow and ghostly voice. " And 
what do ye here ? " 

The sound, terrible and deathlike as it was — suiting well 
the countenance of the speaker, and seeming rather the 
voice of some bodiless wanderer of the Styx than living 
mortal, would have made lone shrink back into the pitiless 
fury of the storm, but Grlaucus, though not without some 
misgiving, drew her into the cavern. 

" We are storm-beaten wanderers from the neighbouring 
city," said he, " and decoyed hither by yon light ; we crave 
shelter and the comfort of your hearth." 

As he spoke, the fox rose from the .ground, and advanced 
towards the strangers, showing, from end to end its white 
teeth, and deepening in its menacing growl. 

" Down, slave ! " said the witch ; and at the sound of her 
voice the beast dropped at once, covering its face with its 
brush, and keeping only its quick, vigilant eye fixed upon 
the invaders of its repose. " Come to the fire if ye will ! " 
said she, turning to Glaucus and his companions. " I 
never welcome living thing — save the owl, the fox, the 
toad, and the viper — so I cannot welcome ye ; but come 
to the fire without welcome — why stand upon form ? " 

The language in which the hag addressed them was a 
strange and barbarous Latin, interlarded with many words 
of some more rude and ancient dialect. She did not stir 
from her seat, but gazed stonily upon them as Glaucus now 
released lone of her outer wrapping garments, and making 
her place herself on a log of wood, which was the only 



222 THE LAST BAYS OP POMPEII. 

other seat he perceived at hand — fanned with his breath 
the embers into a more glowing flame. The slave, en- 
couraged by the boldness of her superiors, divested herself 
also of her long palla, and crept timorously to ^he opposite 
corner of the hearth. 

" We disturb yon, I fear," said the silver voice of lone, 
in conciliation. 

The witch did not reply — she seemed like one who has 
awakened for a moment from the dead, and has then 
relapsed once more into the eternal slumber. 

" Tell me," said she, suddenly, and after a long pause, 
" are ye brother and sister ? " 

" No," said lone, blushing. 

" Are ye married ? " 

" Not so," replied Glaucus. 

" Ho, lovers ! — ha ! — ha ! — ha ! " and the witch laughed 
so loud and so long that the caverns rang again. 

The heart of lone stood still at that strange mirth. 
Glaucus muttered a rapid counterspell to the omen — and 
the slave turned as pale as the cheek of the witch herself. 

" Why dost thou laugh, old crone ? " said Glaucus, some- 
what sternly, as he concluded his invocation. 

" Did I laugh ? " said the hag, absently. 

" She is in her dotage," whispered Glaucus: as he said 
this, he caught the eye of the hag fixed upon him with a 
malignant and vivid glare. 

" Thou liest ! " said she, abruptly. 

" Thou art an uncourteous welcomer," returned Glaucus. 

" Hush ! provoke her not, dear Glaucus ! " whispered 
lone. 

" I will tell thee why I laughed when I discovered ye 
were lovers," said the old woman. " It was because it is a 
pleasure to the old and withered to look upon young hearts 
like yours — and to know the time will come when yon will 
loathe each other — loathe — loathe — ha! — ha ! — ha ! " 

It was now Ione's turn to pray against the unpleasing 
prophecy. 

" The gods forbid ! " said she. " Yet, poor woman, thou, 
knowest little of love, or thou wouldst know that it never 
changes." 

"Was I young once, think ye?" returned the hag, 
quickly ; " and am I old, and hideous, and deathly now ? 
Such as is the form, so is the heart." With these words 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 228 

she sank again into a stillness profound and fearful, as if 
the cessation of life itself. 

"Hast thou dwelt here long?" said Glaucus, after a 
pause, feeling uncomfortably oppressed beneath a silence so 
appalling. 

" Ah, long !— yes." 

" It is but a drear abode." 

" Ha ! thou mayst well say that — Hell is beneath us ! " 
replied the hag, pointing her bony finger to the earth. 
" And I will tell thee a secret — the dim things below are 
preparing wrath for ye above — yon, the young, and the 
thoughtless, and the beautiful." 

" Thou utterest but evil words, ill becoming the hos- 
pitable," said Glaucus ; " and in future I will brave the 
tempest rather than thy welcome." 

"Thou wilt do well. None should ever seek me — save 
the wretched ! " 

" And why the wretched ? " asked the Athenian. 

" I am the witch of the mountain," replied the sorceress, 
with a ghastly grin ; " my trade is to give hope to the hope- 
less: for the crossed in love I have philtres; for the 
avaricious, promises of treasure ; for the malicious, potions 
of revenge ; for the happy and the good, I have only what 
life has — curses ! Trouble me no more." 

With this the grim tenant of the cave relapsed into a 
silence so obstinate and sullen, that Glaucus in vain en- 
deavoured to draw her into farther conversation. She did 
not evince, by any alteration of her locked and rigid features, 
that she even heard him. Fortunately, however, the storm, 
which was brief as violent, began now to relax ; the rain 
grew less and less fierce ; and at last, as the clouds parted, 
the moon burst forth in the purple opening of heaven, and 
streamed clear and full into that .desolate abode. Never 
had ahe shone, perhaps, on a group more worthy of the 
painter's art. The young, the all-beautiful lone, seated by 
that rude fire — her lover already forgetful of the presence 
of the hag, at her feet, gazing upward to her face, and 
whispering sweet words — the pale and affrighted slave at a 
little distance — and the ghastly hag resting her deadly 
eyes upon them ; yet seemingly serene and fearless (for the 
companionship of love hath such power) were these beauti- 
ful beings, things of another sphere, in that dark and unholy 
cavern, with its gloomy quaintness of appurtenance. The 



iu the Last? days of pompeH 

fox regarded them from his corner with his keen and fiery 
eye : and as Glancus now turned towards the witch, he 
perceived for the first time, just under her seat the bright 
gaze and crested head of a large snake : whether it was 
that the vivid colouring of the Athenian's cloak, thrown 
over the shoulders of lone, attracted the reptile's anger — 
its crest began to glow and rise, as if menacing and pre- 
paring itself to spring upon the Neapolitan; — Glancus 
caught quickly at one of the half-burned logs upon the 
hearth — and, as if enraged at the action, the snake came 
forth from its shelter, and with a loud hiss raised itself on 
end till its height nearly approached that of the Greek. 

"Witch! " cried Glaucus, "command thy creature, or 
thou wilt see it dead." 

" It has been despoiled of its venom ! " said the witch, 
aroused at his threat ; but ere the words had left her lip, 
the snake had sprung upon Glaucus ; quick and watchful, 
the agile Greek leaped lightly aside, and struck so fell and 
dexterous a blow on the head of the snake, that it fell pros- 
trate and writhing among the embers of the fire. 

The hag sprung up, and stood confronting Glaucus with 
a face which would have befitted the fiercest of the Furies, 
so utterly dire ano\ wrathful was its expression — yet even 
in horror and ghastliness preserving the outline and trace of 
beauty — and utterly free from that coarse grotesque at which, 
the imaginations of the North have sought the source of terror. 

" Thou hast," said she, in a slow and steady voice — 
which belied the expression of her face, so much was it 
passionless and calm — " thou hast had shelter under my 
roof, and warmth at my hearth ; thou hast returned evil for 
good ; thou hast smitten and haply slain the thing that loved 
me and was mine: nay, more, the creature, above all 
others, consecrated to gods and deemed venerable by man * 
— now hear thy punishment. By the moon, who is the 
guardian of the sorceress — by Orcus, who is the treasurer 
of wrath — I curse thee ! and thou art cursed ! May thy 
love be blasted — may thy name be blackened — may the 
infernals mark thee — may thy heart wither and scorch — 
may thy last hour recall to thee the prophet voice of the 
Saga of Vesuvius ! And thou," she added, turning sharply 

* A peculiar sanctity was attached l>v the Romans (as, indeed, by perhaps 
every ancient people) to serpents, which they kept tame in their houses, and 
often introduced at their meals, 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 225 

towards lone, and raising her right arm, when Glaucus 
burst impetuously on her speech: — 

" Hag ! " cried he, " forbear ! Me thou hast cursed, and 
I commit myself to the gods — I defy and scorn thee ! but 
breathe but one word against yon maiden, and I will 
convert the oath on thy foul lips to thy dying groan. 
Beware ! " 

" I have done," replied the hag, laughing wildly ; " for in 
thy doom is she who loves thee accursed. And not the less, 
that I heard her lips breathe thy name, and know by what 
word to commend thee to the demons. Glaucus — thou art 
doomed ! " So saying, the witch turned from the Athe- 
nian, and kneeling down beside her wounded favourite, 
which she dragged from the hearth, she turned to them 
her face no more. 

" O Glaucus ! " said lone, greatly terrified, " what have 
we done ? — Let us hasten from this place ; the storm has 
ceased. Good mistress, forgive him — recall thy words — 
he meant but to defend himself — accept this peace-offering 
to unsay the said : " and lone, stooping, placed her purse 
on the hag's lap. 

" Away ! " said she, bitterly — " away ! The oath once 
woven the Fates only can untie. Away ! " 

" Come, dearest! " said Glaucus, impatiently. " Thinkest 
thou that the gods above us or below hear the impotent 
ravings of dotage ? Come ! " 

Long and loud rang the echoes of the cavern with the 
dread laugh of the Saga — she deigned no further reply. 

The lovers breathed more freely when they gained the 
open air : yet the scene they had witnessed, the words and 
the laughter of the witch, still fearfully dwelt with lone ; 
and even Glaucus could not thoroughly shake off the im- 
pression they bequeathed. The storm had subsided — save, 
now and then, a low thunder muttered at the distance 
amidst the darker clouds, or a momentary flash of light- 
ning affronted the sovereignty of the moon. With some 
difficulty they regained the road, where they found the 
vehicle already sufficiently repaired for their departure, 
and the oarrucarius calling loudly upon Hercules to tell 
him where his charge had vanished. 

Glaucus vainly endeavoured to cheer the exhausted 
spirits of lone ; and scarce less vainly to recover the elastic 
tone of his own natural gaiety. They soon arrived before 

Q 



2*6 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the gate of the city : as it opened to them, a litter borno 
by slaves impeded the way. 

"It is too late for egress," cried the sentinel to the in- 
mate of the litter. 

"Not so," said a voice, which the lovers started to hear; 
it was a voice they well recognised. " I am bound to the 
villa of Marcus Polybius. I shall return shortly. I am 
Arbaces the Egyptian." 

The scruples of him of the gate were removed, and the 
litter passed close beside the carriage that bore the 
lovers. 

" Arbaces, at this hour ! — scarce recovered too, me- 
thinks! — Whither and for what can he leave the city? " 
said Glaucus. 

"Alas!" replied lone, bursting into tears, "my soul 
feels still more and more the omen of evil. Preserve us, 
O ye Gods! or at least," she murmured inly, "preserve 
my Glaucus ! " 



CHAPTER X. 



THE LOBD OF THE BURNING BELT AND HIS MINION — FATE 
WRITES HER PROPHECY IN RED LETTERS, BUT WHO SHALL 
READ THEM? 

Arbaces had tarried only till the cessation of the tem- 
pest allowed him, under cover of night, to seek the Saga 
of Vesuvius. Borne by those of his trustier slaves in 
whom in all more secret expeditions he was accustomed to 
confide, he lay extended along his litter, and resigning his 
sanguine heart to the contemplation of vengeance gratified 
and love possessed. The slaves in so short a journey 
moved very little slower than the ordinary pace of mules ; 
and Arbaces soon arrived at the commencement of a 
narrow path, which the lovers had not been fortunate 
enough to discover ; but which, skirting the thick vines, 
led at once to the habitation of the witch. Here he rested 
the litter ; and bidding his slaves conceal themselves and 
the vehicle among the vines from the observation of any 
chance passenger, he mounted alone, with steps still 
feeble but supported by a long staff, the drear and sharp 
ascent. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 227 

Not a drop of rain fell from the tranquil heaven ; but 
the moisture dripped mournfully, from the laden boughs of 
the vine, and now and then collected in tiny pools in the 
crevices and hollows of the rocky* way. 

" Strange passions these for a philosopher," thought 
Arbaces, " that lead one like me just new from the bed of 
death, and lapped even in health amidst the roses of 
luxury, across such nocturnal paths as this ; but Passion 
and Vengeance treading to their goal can make an Elysium 
of a Tartarus." High, clear, and melancholy shone the 
moon above the road of that dark wayfarer, glossing 
herself in every pool that lay before him, and sleeping in 
shadow along the sloping mount. He saw before him the 
same light that had guided the steps of his intended 
victims, but, no longer contrasted by the blackened 
clouds, it shone less redly clear. 

He paused, as at length he approached the mouth of the 
cavern, to recover breath; and then, with his wonted 
collected and stately mien, he crossed the unhallowed 
threshold. 

The fox sprang up at the ingress of this new-comer, 
and by a long howl announced another visitor to his 
mistress. 

The witch had resumed her seat, and her aspect of 
gravelike aitd grim repose. By her feet, upon a bed of 
dry weeds which half covered it, lay the wounded snake i 
but the quick eye of the Egyptian caught its scales glit- 
tering in the reflected light of the opposite fire, as it 
writhed, — now contracting, now lengthening, its folds, in 
pain and unsated anger. 

" Down, slave ! " said the witch, as before, to the fox ; 
and, as before, the animal dropped to the ground — mute, 
but vigilant. 

" Rise, servant of ETox %nd Erebus ! " said Arbaces, 
commandingly ; "a superior in thine art salutes thee ! 
rise, and welcome him." 

At these words the hag turned her gaze upon the 
Egyptian's towering form and dark features. She looked 
long and fixedly upon him, as he stood before her in his 
Oriental robe, and folded arms, and steadfast and haughty 
brow. "Who art thou/' she said at last, "that callest 
thyself greater in art than the Saga of the Burning Fields, 
and the daughter of the perished Etrurian race P " 

Q2 



fc 



228 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEH. 

" I am he," answered Arbaccs, " from whom all culti- 
vators of magic, from north to south, from east to west, 
from the Ganges and the Nile to the vales of Thessaly 
and the shores of the yellow Tiber, have stooped to 
learn." 

" There is but one such man in these places," answered 
the witch, " whom the men of the outer world, unknowing 
his loftier attributes and more secret fame, call Arbaces 
the Egyptian : to us of a higher nature and deeper know- 
ledge, his rightful appellation is Hermes of the Burning 
Girdle." 

" Look again," returned Arbaces : " I am he." 

As he spoke he drew aside his robe, and revealed a cinc- 
ture seemingly of fire, that burned around his waist, 
clasped in the centre by a plate whereon was engraven 
some sign apparently vague and unintelligible, but which 
was evidently not unknown to the Saga. She rose hastily, 
and threw herself at the feet of Arbaces. " I have seen, 
then," said she, in a voice of deep humility, " the Lord of 
the Mighty Girdle — vouchsafe my homage." 

" Rise," said the Egyptian ; " I have need of thee." 

So saying, he placed himself on the same log of wood 
on which lone had rested before, and motioned to the 
witch to resume her seat. 

" Thou sayest," said he, as she obeyed, " that thou art 
a daughter of the ancient Etrurian* tribes; the mighty 
walls of whose rock-built cities yet frown above the robber 
race that hath seized upon their ancient reign. Partly 
came those tribes from Greece, partly were they exiles 
from a more burning and primeval soil. In either case art 
thou of Egyptian lineage, for the Grecian masters of the 
aboriginal helot were among the restless sons whom the 
Nile banished from her bosom. Equally, then, Saga! 
thy descent is from ancestors that swore allegiance to 
mine own. By birth as by knowledge, art thou the sub- 
ject of Arbaces. Hear me, then, and obey ! " 

The witch bowed her head. 

"Whatever art we possess in sorcery," continued 

* The Etrurians (it may be superfluous to mention) were celebrated for 
their enchantments. Arbaces is wrong in assuming their Egyptian origin, 
but the Egyptians arrogated the ancestry of almost every one of the more 
illustrious races, and there are not wanting modern schoolmen who, too 
credulously, support the claim. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPETl. 229 

Arbaces, " we are sometimes driven to natural means to 
attain our object. The ring* and the crystal, f and the 
ashes J and the herbs, § do not give unerring divinations ; 
neither do the higher mysteries of the moon yield even the 
possessor of the girdle a dispensation from the necessity of 
employing ever and anon human measures for a human 
object. Mark me, then: thou art deeply skilled, me- 
thinks, in the secrets of the more deadly herbs ; thou 
knowest those which arrest life, which burn and scorch 
the soul from out her citadel, or freeze the channels of 
young blood into that ice which no sun can melt. Do I 
overrate thy skill ? Speak, and truly ! " 

"Mighty Hermes, such lore is, indeed, mine own. 
Deign to look at these ghostly and corpse-like features ; 
they have waned from the hues of life merely by watching 
over the rank herbs which simmer night and day in yon 
cauldron." 

The Egyptian moved his seat from so unblessed or so un- 
healthful a vicinity as the witch spoke. 

44 It is well," said he ; " thou hast learned that maxim of 
all the deeper knowledge which saith, ' Despise the body 
to make wise the mind.' But to thy task. There comcth 
to thee by to-morrow's starlight a vain maiden, seeking of 
thine art a love- charm to fascinate from another the eyes 
that should utter but soft tales to her own ; instead of thy 
philtres, give the maiden one of thy most powerful poisons. 
Let the lover breathe his vows to the Shades." 

The witch trembled from head to foot. 

" Oh pardon ! pardon ! dread master," said she, falter- 
ingly, "but this I dare not. The law in these cities 
is sharp and vigilant; they will seize, they will slay 
me." 

" For what purpose, then, thy herbs and thy potions, 
vain Saga? " said Arbaces, sneeringly. 

The witch hid her loathsome face with her hands. 

" Oh ! years ago," said she, in a voice unlike her usual 
tones, so plaintive was it, and so soft, " I was not the thing 
that I am now. — I loved, I fancied myself beloved." 

" And what connection hath thy love, witch, with my 
commands ? " said Arbaces, impetuously. 

* AcucTv\o}xavTua. + Kpv<TTo\ofxavT€ia, 

X TKppo/jiayitla. § BoravofxavTua^ 



230 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Patience," resumed the witch ; " patience, I implore. 
I loved ! another and less fair than I— yes, by Nemesis ! 
less fair — allured from me my chosen. I was of that dark 
Etrurian tribe to whom most of all were known the secrets 
of the gloomier magic. My mother was herself a saga : she 
shared the resentment of her child ; from her hands I re- 
ceived the potion that was to restore me his love ; and 
from her, also, the poison that was to destroy my rival. 
Oh, crush me, dread walls ! my trembling hands mistook 
the phials, my lover fell indeed at my feet ; but dead ! 
dead ! Since then, what has been life to me ? I became 
suddenly old, I devoted myself to the sorceries of mv 
race ; still by an irresistible impulse I curse myself with 
an awful penance ; still I seek the most noxious herbs ; 
still I concoct the poisons ; still I imagine that I am to 
give them to my hated rival ; still I pour them into the 
phial ; still I fancy that they shall blast her beauty to the 
dust ; still I wake and see the quivering body, the foam- 
ing lips, the glazing eyes of my Aulus — murdered, and by 
me!" 

The skeleton frame of the witch shook beneath strong 
convulsions. 

Arbaces gazed upon her with a curious though contemp- 
tuous eye. 

" And this foul thing has yet human emotions ! " thought 
he ; " she still cowers over the ashes of the same fire that 
consumes Arbaces ! — Such are we all ! Mystic is the tie 
of those mortal passions that unite the greatest and the 
least." 

He did not reply till she had somewhat recovered herself, 
and now sat rocking to and fro in her seat, with glassy eyes 
fixed on the opposite flame, and large tears rolling down 
her livid cheeks. 

" A grievous tale is thine, in truth," said Arbaces. " But 
these emotions are fit only for our youth — ago should 
harden our hearts to all things but ourselves ; as every 
year adds a scale to the shell-fish, so should each year wall 
and incrust the heart. Think of those frenzies no more ! 
And now, listen to me again ! By the revenge that was 
dear to thee, I command thee to obey me ! it is for ven- 
geance that I seek thee ! This youth whom I would sweep 
from my path has crossed me, despite my spells : — this 
thing of purple and broidery, of smiles and glances, soulless 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 231 

and mindless, with no charm but that of beauty — accursed 
be it ! — this insect — this Glaucus — I tell thee, by Orcus and 
by Nemesis, he must die." 

And working himself up at every word, the Egyptian, 
forgetful of his debility — of his strange companion — of 
everything but his own vindictive rage, strode, with large 
and rapid steps, the gloomy cavern. 

" Glaucus ! saidst thou, mighty master ! " said the witch, 
abruptly ; and her dim eye glared at the name with all 
that fierce resentment at the memory of small affronts so 
common amongst the solitary and the shunned. 

" Aye, so he is called ; but what matters the name P Let 
it not be heard as that of a living man three days from this 
date!" 

" Hear me ! " said the witch, breaking from a short 
reverie into which she was plunged after this last sentence 
of the Egyptian. " Hear me ! I am thy thing and thy 
slave ! spare me ! If I give to the maiden thou speakest of 
that which would destroy the life of Glaucus, 1 shall be 
surely detected — the dead ever find avengers. Nay, dread 
man ! if thy visit to me be tracked, if thy hatred to Glaucus 
be known, thou mayest have need of thy archest magic to 
protect thyself ! " 

" Ha ! " said Arbaces, stopping suddenly short ; and as 
a proof of that blindness with which passion darkens 
the eyes even of the most acute, this was the first time 
when the risk that he himself ran by this method of 
vengeance had occurred to a mind ordinarily wary and 
circumspect. 

" But," continued the witch, " if instead of that which 
shall arrest the heart, I give that which shall sear and blast 
the brain — which shall make him who quaffs it unfit for 
the uses and career of life — an abject, raving, benighted 
thing — smiting sense to drivelling, youth to dotage — will 
not thy vengeance be equally sated — thy object equally 
attained ? " 

" Oh, witch ! no longer the servant, but the sister — the 
equal of Arbaces — how much brighter is woman's wit, even 
in vengeance, than ours ! how much more exquisite than 
death is such a doom ! " 

" And," continued the hag, gloating over her fell scheme, 
" in this is but little danger : for by ten thousand methods, 
which men forbear to seek, can our victim become mad. 



232 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPElt. 

He may have been among the vines and seen a nymph * — 
or the vine itself may have had the same effect — ha, ha ! 
they never inquire too scrupulously into these matters in 
which the gods may be agents. Aid let the worst arrive 
— let it be known that it is a love- charm — why, madness is 
a common effect of philtres ; and even the fair she that 
gave it finds indulgence in the excuse. Mighty Hermes, 
have I ministered to thee cunningly ? " 

" Thou shalt have twenty years* longer date for this," 
returned Arbaces. " I will write anew the epoch of thy 
fate on the face of the pale stars — thou shalt not serve in 
vain the Master of the Flaming Belt. And here, Saga, 
carve thee out, by these golden tools, a warmer cell in this 
dreary cavern — one service to me shall countervail a thou- 
sand divinations by sieve and shears to the gaping rustics.' ' 
So saying, he cast upon the floor a heavy purse, which 
clinked not unmusically to the ear of the hag, who loved 
the consciousness of possessing the means to purchase com- 
forts she disdained. " Farewell/ ' said Arbaces, "fail not 
— outwatch the stars in concocting thy beverage — thou 
shalt lord it over thy sisters at the Walnut-tree, t when 
thou tellest them that thy patron and thy friend is Hermes 
the Egyptian. To-morrow night we meet again." 

He stayed not to hear the valediction or the thanks of 
the witch ; with a quick step he passed into the moonlit 
air, and hastened down the mountain. 

The witch, who followed his steps to the threshold, stood 
long at the entrance of the cavern, gazing fixedly on his 
receding form ; and as the sad moonlight streamed upon 
her shadowy form and deathlike face, emerging from the 
dismal rocks, it seemed as if one gifted, indeed, by super- 
natural magic had escaped from the dreary Orcus ; and, 
the foremost of its ghostly throng, stood at its black portals 
— vainly summoning his return, or vainly sighing to rejoin 
him. The hag, then slowly re-entering the cave, groaningly 
picked up the heavy purse, took the lamp from its stand, 
and, passing to the remotest depth of her cell, a black and 
abrupt passage, which was not visible, save at a near 

* To see a nymph was to become mad, according to classic and popular 
superstition. 

f The celebrated and immemorial rendezvous of the witches at Benevento. 
The winged serpent attached to it, long an object of idolatry in those parts 
was probably consecrated by Egyptian superstitions. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 233 

approach, closed round as it was with jutting and sharp 
crags, yawned before her; she went several yards along 
this gloomy path, which sloped gradually downwards, as if 
towards the bowels of the earth, and, lifting a stone, de- 
posited her treasure in a hole beneath, which, as the lamp 
pierced its secrets, seemed already to contain coins of 
various value, wrung from the credulity or gratitude of her 
visitors. 

" I love to look at you," said she, apostrophising the 
moneys ; " for when I see you I feel that I am indeed of 
power. And I am to have twenty years' longer life to 
increase your store ! O thou great Hermes ! " 

She replaced the stone, and continued her path onward 
for some paces, when she stopped before a deep irregular 
fissure in the earth. Here, as she bent — strange, rumbling, 
hoarse, and distant sounds might be heard, while ever 
and anon, with a loud and grating noise which, to use 
a homely but faithful simile, seemed to resemble the 
grinding of steel upon wheels, volumes of streaming and 
dark smoke issued forth, and rushed spirally along the 
cavern. 

" The Shades are noisier than their wont," said the hag, 
shaking her grey locks ; and, looking into the cavity, she 
beheld, far down, glimpses of a long streak of light, 
intensely but darkly red. " Strange ! " she said, shrinking 
back ; " it is only within the last two days that dull deep 
light hath been visible — what can it portend ? " 

The fox, who had attended the steps of his fell mistress, 
uttered a dismal howl, and ran cowering back to the inner 
cave ; a cold shuddering seized the hag herself at the cry 
of the animal, which, causeless as it seemed, the superstitions 
of the time considered deeply ominous. She muttered her 
placatory charm, and tottered back into her cavern, where, 
amidst her herbs and incantations, she prepared to execute 
the orders of the Egyptian. 

" He called me dotard," said she, as the smoke curled 
from the hissing cauldron : " when the jaws drop, and the 
grinders fall, and the heart scarce beats, it is a pitiable 
thing to dote ; but when," she added, with a savage and 
exulting grin, "the young, and the beautiful, and the 
strong, are suddenly smitten into idiocy — ah, that is terrible ! 
Burn flame — simmer herb— swelter toad — I cursed him, 
and he shall "be cursed ! " 



284 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

On that night, and at the same hour which witnessed the 
dark and unholy interview between Arbaces and the Saga, 
Apeecides was baptised. 



CHAPTER XI. 



PROGRESS OP EVENTS. — THE PLOT THICKENS. — THE WEB IS 
WOVEN, BUT THE NET CHANGES HANDS. 

"And you have the courage, then, Julia, to seek the 
Witch of Vesuvius this evening; in company, too, with 
that fearful man ? " 

"Why, Nydia?" replied Julia, timidly; "dost thou 
really think there is anything to dread ? These old hags, 
with their enchanted mirrors, their trembling sieves, and 
their moon-gathered herbs, are, I imagine, but crafty im- 
postors, who have learned, perhaps, nothing but the very 
charm for which I apply to their skill, and which is drawn 
but from the knowledge of the field's herbs and simples. 
Wherefore should I dread? " 

" Dost thou not fear thy companion ? " 

"What, Arbaces? By Dian, I never saw lover more 
courteous than that same magician ! And were he not so 
dark, he would be even handsome." 

Blind as she was, Nydia had the penetration to perceive 
that Julia's mind was not one that the gallantries of Arbaces 
were likely to terrify. She therefore dissuaded her no 
more : but nursed in her excited heart the wild and in- 
creasing desire to know if sorcery had indeed a spell to 
fascinate love to love. 

" Let me go with thee, noble Julia," said she at length ; 
"my presence is no protection, but I should like to be 
beside thee to the last." 

" Thine offer pleases mo much," replied the daughter of 
Diomed. " Yet how canst thou contrive it ? we may not 
return until late, they will miss thee." 

" lone is indulgent," replied Nydia. " If thou wilt per- 
mit me to sleep beneath thy roof, I will say that thou, an 
early patroness and friend, hast invited me to pass the day 
with thee, and sing thee my Thessalian songs ; her courtesy 
will readily grant to thee so light a boon." 

" Nay, ask for thyself ! " said the haughty Julia. " I 
stoop to request no favour from the Neapolitan ! " 



THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEII. 235 

" Well, be it so. I will take my leave now ; make my 
request, which I know will be readily granted, and retnrn 
shortly." 

"Do so; and thy bed shall be prepared in my own 
chamber." 

With that, Nydia left the fair Pompeian. 
. On her way back to lone she was met by the chariot of 
Glaucus, on whose fiery and curveting steeds was riveted 
the gaze of the crowded street. 

He kindly stopped for a moment to speak to the flower- 
girl. 

" Blooming as thine own roses, my gentle Nydia ! and 
how is thy fair mistress? — recovered, I trust, from the 
effects of the storm ? " 

" I have not seen her this morning," answered Nydia, 

"but " 

" But what ? draw back — the horses are too near thee." 
" But think you lone will permit me to pass the day 
with Julia, the daughter of Diomed ? — She wishes it, and 
was kind to me when I had few friends." 

" The gods bless thy grateful heart ! I will answer for 
Ione's permission." 

" Then I may stay over the night, and return to-mor- 
row ? " said Nydia, shrinking from the praise she so little 
merited. 

" As thou and fair Julia please. Commend me to her ; 
and, hark ye, Nydia, when thou hearest her speak, note 
the contrast of her voice with that of the silver-toned 
lone.— Vale/' 9 

His spirits entirely recovered from the effect of the past 
night, his locks waving in the wind, his joyous and elastic 
heart bounding with every spring of his Parthian steeds, 
a very prototype of his country's god, full of youth and of 
love — Glaucus was borne rapidly to his mistress. 

Enjoy while ye may the present — who can read the 
future? 

As the evening darkened, Julia, reclined within her litter, 
which was capacious enough also to admit her blind com- 
panion, took her way to the rural baths indicated by 
Arbaces. To her natural levity of disposition, her enter- 
prise brought less of terror than of pleasurable excitement ; 
above all, she glowed at the thought of her coming triumph 
over the hated Neapolitan. 



£36 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

A small but gay group was collected round the door of tho 
villa, as her litter passed by it to the private entrance of tho 
baths appropriated to the women. 

" Methinks, by this dim light," said one of the bystanders, 
" I recognise the slaves of Diomed." 

" True, Clodius," said Sallust : " it is probably the litter 
of his daughter Julia. She is rich, my friend ; why dost 
thou not proffer thy suit to her ? " 

" Why, I had once hoped that Glaucus would havo 
married her. She does not disguise her attachment ; and 
then, as he gambles freely and with ill-success " 

" The sesterces would have passed to thee, wise Clodius, 
A wife is a good thing — when it belongs to another 
man ! " 

" But," continued Clodius, " as Glaucus is, I understand, 
to wed the Neapolitan, I think I must even try my chanco 
with the dejected maid. After all, the lamp of Hymen 
will be gilt, and the vessel will reconcile one to the odour 
of the flame. I shall only protest, my Sallust, against 
Diomed' s making thee trustee to his daughter's fortune." * 

" Ha ! ha ! let us within, my comissator; the wine and 
the garlands wait us." 

Dismissing her slaves to that part of the house set apart 
for their entertainment, Julia entered the baths with Nydia, 
and declining the offers of the attendants, passed by a 
private door into tho garden behind. 

" She comes by appointment, be sure," said one of tho 
slaves. 

" What is that to thee ? " said a superintendent, sourly ; 
" she pays for the baths, and does not waste the saffron. 
Such appointments are the best part of the trade. Hark ! 
do you not hear the widow Fulvia clapping her hands ? 
Run, fool — run ! " 

Julia and Nydia, avoiding the more public part of tho 
garden, arrived at the place specified by the Egyptian. In 
a small circular plot of grass the stars gleamed upon the 
statue of Silcnus : — the merry god reclined upon a frag- 
ment of rock — the lynx of Bacchus, at his feet — and 

* It was an ancient Roman law, that no one should make a woman his 
heir. The law \va* evaded by tho parent's assigning his fortune to a friend 
in trust for his daughter, but the trustee might keep it if ho liked. Tho 
law had, however, fallen into disusj before the dute of this story. 



fc 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 237 

over his mouth he held, with extended arm, a bunch of 
grapes, which he seemingly laughed to welcome ere he 
devoured. 

" I see not the magician," said Julia, looking round ; 
when, as she spoke, the Egyptian slowly emerged from the 
neighbouring foliage, and the light fell palely over his 
sweeping robes. 

" Salve, sweet maiden ! — But ha ! whom hast thou here ? 
we must have no companions ! " 

" It is but the blind flower-girl, wise magician," replied 
Julia : " herself a Thessalian." 

" Oh ! Nydia ! " said the Egyptian ; " I know her well." 

Nydia drew back and shuddered. 

" Thou hast been at my house, methinks ! " said he, 
approaching his voice to Nydia's ear ; " thou knowest the 
oath ! — Silence and secrecy, now as then, or beware ! " 

" Yet," he added, musingly to himself, " why confide 
more than is necessary, even in the blind — Julia, canst 
thou trust thyself alone with me? Believe me, tho 
magician is less formidable than he seems." 

As he spoke, he gently drew Julia aside. 

" The witch loves not many visitors at once," said he; 
" leave Nydia here till your return ; she can be of no assist- 
ance to ub : and, for protection — your own beauty suffices 
— your own beauty and your own rank ; yes, Julia, I know 
thy name and birth. Come, trust thyself with me, fair 
rival of the youngest of the Naiads ! " 

The vain Julia was not, as we have seen, easily affrighted ; 
she was moved by the flattery of Arbaces, and she readily 
consented to suffer Nydia to await her return; nor did 
Nydia press her presence. At the sound of the Egyptian's 
voice all her terror of him returned : she felt a sentiment 
of pleasure at learning she was not to travel in his com- 
panionship. 

She returned to the Bath-house, and in one of the 
private chambers waited their return. Many and bitter 
were the thoughts of this wild girl as she sat there in her 
eternal darkness. She thought of her own desolate fate, 
far from her native land, far from the bland cares that 
once assuaged the April sorrows of childhood ; — deprived 
of the light of day, with none but strangers to guide her 
steps, accursed by the one soft feeling of her heart, loving 
and without hope, save the dim and unholy ray which shot 



238 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

across her mind, as her Thessalian fancies questioned of the 
force of spells and the gifts of magic ! 

Nature had sown in the heart of this poor girl the seeds 
of virtue never destined to ripen. The lessons of adversity 
are not always salutary — sometimes they soften and amend, 
but as often they indurate and pervert. If we consider 
ourselves more harshly treated by fate than those around 
us, and do not acknowledge in our own deeds the justice of 
the severity, we become too apt to deem the world our 
enemy to case ourselves in defiance, to wrestle against our 
softer self, and to indulge the darker passions which are so 
easily fermented by the sense of injustice. Sold early into 
slavery, sentenced to a sordid task-master, exchanging her 
situation, only yet more to embitter her lot — the kindlier 
feelings, naturally profuse in the breast of Nydia, were 
nipped and blighted. Her sense of right and wrong was 
confused by a passion to which she had so madly surren- 
dered herself ; and the same intense and tragic emotions 
which we read of in the women of the classic age — a 
Myrrha, a Medea — and which hurried and swept away the 
whole soul when once delivered to love — ruled, and rioted 
in, her breast. 

Time passed : a light step entered the chamber where 
Nydia yet indulged her gloomy meditations. 

" Oh, thanked be the immortal gods ! " said Julia, " I 
have returned, I have left that terrible cavern! Come, 
Nydia ! let us away forthwith ! " 

It was not till they were seated in the litter that Julia 
again spoke. 

" Oh ! " said she, tremblingly, " such a scene ! such 
fearful incantations ! and the dead face of the hag ! — But, 
let us talk not of it. I have obtained the potion — she 
pledges its effect. My rival shall be suddenly indifferent 
to his eye, and I, I alone, the idol of Glaucus ! " 

" G-laucus ! " exclaimed Nydia. 

" Ay ! I told thee, girl, at first, that it was not the 
Athenian whom I loved : but I see now that I may trust 
thee wholly — it is the beautiful Greek ! " 

What then were Nydia's emotions ! she had connived, 
she had assisted, in tearing Glaucus from lone ; but only 
to transfer, by all the power of magic, his affections yet 
more hopelessly to another. Her heart swelled almost to 
suffocation — she gasped for breath — in the darkness of the 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 239 

vehicle, Julia did not perceive the agitation of her com- 
panion ; she went on rapidly dilating on the promised effect 
of her acquisition, and on her approaching triumph over 
lone, every now and then abruptly digressing to the horror 
of the scene she had quitted — the unmoved mien of Arbaces, 
and his authority over the dreadful Saga. 

Meanwhile Nydia recovered her self-possession: a 
thought flashed across her : she slept in the chamber of 
Julia — she might possess herself of the potion. 

They arrived at the house of Diomed, and descended to 
Julia's apartment, where the night's repast awaited them. 

" Drink, Nydia, thou must be cold ; the air was chill to- 
night ; as for me, my veins are yet ice." 

And Julia unhesitatingly quaffed deep draughts of the 
spiced wine. 

" Thou hast the potion," said Nydia ; " let me hold it in 
my hands. How small the phial is ! of what colour is the 
draught ? " 

" Clear as crystal," replied Julia, as she retook the 
philtre ; " thou couldst not tell it from this water. The 
witoh assures me it is tasteless. Small though the phial, 
it suffices for a life's fidelity : it is to be poured into any 
liquid ; and Glaucus will only know what he has quaffed 
by the effect." 

" Exactly like this water in appearance ? " 

" Yes, sparkling and colourless as this. How bright it 
seems ! it is as the very essence of moonlit dews. Bright 
thing ! how thou shinest on my hopes through thy crystal 
vase ! " 

" And how is it sealed ! " 

"But by one little stopper — I withdraw it now — the 
draught gives no odour. Strange, that that which speaks 
to neither sense should thus command all ! " 

" Is the effect instantaneous ? " 

" Usually ; — but sometimes it remains dormant for a few 
hours." 

" Oh, how sweet is this perfume ? " said Nydia, sud- 
denly, as she took up a small bottle on the table, and bent 
over its fragrant contents. 

" Thinkest thou so ? the bottle is set with gems of some 
value. Thou wouldst not have the bracelet yestermorn ; 
— wilt thou take the bottle ? " 

" It ought to be such perfumes as these that should 



k 



240 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

remind one who cannot see of the generous Julia. If 
the bottle be not too costly " 

" Oh ! I have a thousand costlier ones : take it, child ! " 

Nydia bowed her gratitude, and placed the bottle in 
her vest. 

" And the draught would be equally efficacious, who- 
ever administers it ? " 

" If the most hideous hag beneath the sun bestowed 
it, such is its asserted virtue that Glaucus would deem her 
beautiful, and none but her ! " 

Julia, warmed by wine, and the reaction of her spirits, 
was now all animation and delight ; she laughed loud, and 
talked on a hundred matters — nor was it till the night had 
advanced far towards morning that she summoned her 
slaves and undressed. 

When they were dismissed, she said to Nydia, — 

" I will not suffer this holy draught to quit my presence 
till the hour comes for its uses. lie under my pillow, 
bright spirit, and give me happy dreams ! " 

So saying, she placed the potion under her pillow. 
Nydia's heart beat violently. 

" Why dost thou drink that unmixed water, Nydia P 
Take the wine by its side." 

" I am fevered," replied the blind girl, "and the water 
cools me. I will place this bottle by my bedside, it re- 
freshes in these summer nights, when the dews of sleep 
fall not on our lips. Fair Julia, I must leave thee very 
early — so lone bids — perhaps before thou art awake; 
accept, therefore, now my congratulations." 

" Thanks : when next we meet you may find Glaucus at 
my feet." 

They had retired to their couches, and Julia, worn out 
by the excitement of the day, soon slept. But anxious and 
burning thoughts rolled over the mind of the wakeful 
Thessalian. She listened to the calm breathing of Julia ; 
and her ear, accustomed to the finest distinctions of 
sound, speedily assured her of the deep slumber of her 
companion. 

" Now befriend me, Venus ! " said she softly. 

She rose gently, and poured the perfume from the gift 
of Julia upon the marble floor — she rinsed it several times 
carefully with the water that was beside her, and then 
easily finding the bed of Julia (for night to her was as 



" THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 241 

day), she pressed her trembling hand under the pillow and 
seized the potion. Julia stirred not, her breath regularly 
fanned the burning cheek of the blind girl. Nydia, then, 
opening the phial, poured its contents into the bottle, 
which easily contained them ; and then refilling the former 
reservoir of the potion with that limpid water which Julia 
had assured her it so resembled, she once more placed the 
phial in its former place. She then stole again to her 
couch, and waited — with what thoughts ! — the dawning 
day. 

The sun had risen — Julia slept still — Nydia noiselessly 
dressed herself, placed her treasure carefully in her vest, 
took up her staff, and hastened to quit the house. 

The porter, Medon, saluted her kindly as she descended 
the steps that led to the street : she heard him not ; her 
mind was confused and lost in the whirl of tumultuous 
thoughts, each thought a passion. She felt the pure 
morning air upon her cheek, but it cooled not her scorch- 
ing veins. 

" Glaucus," she murmured, " all the love-charms of the 
wildest magic could not make thee love me as I love thee, 
lone ! — ah ; away hesitation ! away remorse ! G-laucus, 
my fate is in thy smile ; and thine ! hopo ! O joy ! O 
transport ! — thy fate is in these hands ! " 



& 



242 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 



BOOK IV. 



CHAPTER I. 

REFLECTIONS ON THE ZEAL OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS — TWO 
MEN COME TO A PERILOUS RESOLVE — WALLS HAVE EARS — 
PARTICULARLY SACRED WALLS. 

Whoever regards the early history of Christianity, will 
perceive how necessary to its triumph was that fierce spirit 
of zeal, which, fearing no danger, accepting no compro- 
mise, inspired its champions and sustained its martyrs. 
In a dominant church the genius of intolerance betrays its 
cause; — in a weak and a persecuted church, the same 
genius mainly supports. It was necessary to scorn, to 
loathe, to abhor the creeds of other men, in order to con- 
quer the temptations which they presented — it was neces- 
sary rigidly to believe not only that the Gospel was the 
trne faith, but the sole true faith that saved, in order to 
nerve the disciple to the austerity of its doctrine, and to 
encouraging him to the sacred and perilous chivalry of 
converting the Polytheist and the Heathen. The secta- 
rian sternness which confined virtue and heaven to a 
chosen few, which saw demons in other gods, and the pe- 
nalties of hell in another religion — made the believer 
naturally anxious to convert all to whom he felt the ties 
of human affection ; and the circle thus traced by benevo- 
lence to man was yet more widened by a desire for the 
glory of God. It was for the honour of the Christian 
faith that the Christian boldly forced its tenets upon the 
scepticism of some, the repugnance of others, the sage 
contempt of the philosopher, the pious shudder of the 
people ; — his very intolerance supplied him with his fittest 
instruments of success ; and the soft Heathen began at last 
to imagine there must indeed be something holy in a zeal 
wholly foreign to his experience, which stopped at no 
obstacle, dreaded no danger, and even at the torture, or 
on the scaffold, referred a dispute far other than the calm 
differences of speculative philosophy to the tribunal of an 



k 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 243 

Eternal Judge. It was thus that the same fervour which 
made the Churchman of the middle age a bigot without 
mercy, made the Christian of the early days a hero with- 
out fear. 

Of these more fiery, daring, and earnest natures, not the 
least ardent was Olinthus. No sooner had Apcecides been 
received by the rites of baptism into the bosom of the 
Church, than the Nazarene hastened to make him con- 
scious of the impossibility to retain the office and robes of 
priesthood. He could not, it was evident, profess to wor- 
ship God, and continue even outwardly to honour the 
idolatrous altars of the Fiend. 

Nor was this all, the sanguine and impetuous mind of 
Olinthus beheld in the power of Aprocides the means of 
divulging to the deluded people the juggling mysteries of 
the oracular Isis. He thought Heaven had sent this in- 
strument of his design in order to disabuse the eyes of the 
crowd, and prepare the way, perchance; for the conversion 
of a whole city. He did not hesitate then to appeal to all 
the new-kindled enthusiasm of Apeecides, to arouse his 
courage, and to stimulate his zeal. They met, according 
to previous agreement, the evening after the baptism of 
Apeecides, in the grove of Cybele, which we have before 
described. 

" At the next solemn consultation of the oracle," said 
Olinthus, as he proceeded in the warmth of his address, 
"advance yourself to the railing, proclaim aloud to the 
people the deception they endure, invite them to enter, to 
be themselves the witness of the gross but artful mecha- 
nism of imposture thou hast described to me. Fear not — 
the Lord, who protected Daniel, shall protect thee ; we, the 
community of Christians, will be amongst the crowd ; we 
will urge on the shrinking: and in the first flush of the 
popular indignation and shame, I myself, upon those very 
altars, will plant the palm-branch typical of the G-ospel 
— and to my tongue shall descend the rushing Spirit of the 
living God." 

Heated and excited as he was, this suggestion was not 
unpleasing to Apaecides. He was rejoiced at so early an 
opportunity of distinguishing his faith in his new sect, and 
to his holier feelings were added those of a vindictive 
loathing at the imposition he had himself suffered, and a 
desire to avenge it. In that sanguine and elastic over* 

R 2 



244 THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEII. 

bound of obstacles (the rashness necessary to all who un- 
dertake venturous and lofty actions), neither Olinthus nor 
the proselyte perceived the impediments to the success of 
their scheme, which might be found in the reverent super- 
stition of the people themselves, who would probably be 
loth, before the sacred altars of the great Egyptian god- 
dess, to believe even the testimony of her priest against 
her power. 

Apcecides then assented to this proposal with a readiness 
which delighted Olinthus. They parted with the under- 
standing that Olinthus should confer with the more im- 
portant of his Christian brethren on his great enterprise, 
should receive their advice and the assurances of their 
support on the eventful day. It so chanced that one of 
the festivals of Isis was to be held on the second day after 
this conference. The festival proffered a ready occasion 
for the design. They appointed to meet once more on the 
next evening at the same spot ; and in that meeting were 
finally to be settled the order and details of the disclosure 
for the following day. 

It happened that the latter part of this conference had 
been held near the sacellum, or small chapel, which I have 
described in the early part of this work ; and so soon as 
the forms of the Christian and the priest had disappeared 
from the grove, a dark and ungainly figure emerged from 
behind the chapel. 

"I have tracked you with some effect, my brother 
flamen, ,, soliloquised the eavesdropper; "you, the priest 
of Isis, have not for mere idle discussion conferred with 
this gloomy Christian. Alas ! that I could not hear all 
your precious plot : enough ! I find, at least, that you 
meditate revealing the sacred mysteries, and that to- 
morrow you meet again at this place to plan the how and 
the when. May Osiris sharpen my ears then, to detect 
the whole of your unheard-of audacity! When I have 
learned more, I must confer at once with Arbaces. We 
will frustrate you, my friends, deep as you think your- 
selves. At present, my breast is a locked treasury of your 
secret. " 

Thus muttering, Calenus, for it was he, wrapped his 
robe round him, and strode thoughtfully homeward. 



k 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 245 



CHAPTER II. 

A CLASSIC HOST, COOK, AND KITCHEN — AP^CIDES SEEKS IONE — 

THEIR CONVERSATION. 

It was then the day for Diomed's banquet to the most 
select of his friends. The graceful G-laucus, the beautiful 
lone, the official Pansa, the high-born Clodius, the im- 
mortal Fulvius, the exquisite Lepidus, the epicurean 
Sallust, were not the only honour ers of his festival. He 
expected, also, an invalid senator from Rome (a man of 
considerable repute and favour at court), and a great 
warrior from Herculaneum, who had fought with Titus 
against the Jews, and having enriched himself prodigiously 
in the wars, was always told by his friends that his 
country was eternally indebted to his disinterested exer- 
tions ! The party, however, extended to a yet greater 
number : for although, critically speaking, it was, at one 
time, thought inelegant among the Romans to entertain 
less than three or more than nine at their banquets, yet 
this rule was easily disregarded by the ostentatious. And 
we are told, indeed, in history, that one of the most 
splendid of these entertainers usually feasted a select party 
of three hundred. Diomed, however, more modest, con- 
tented himself with doubling the number of the Muses. 
His party consisted of eighteen, no unfashionable number 
in the present day. 

It was the morning of Diomed's banquet ; and Diomed 
himself, though he greatly affected the gentleman and the 
scholar, retained enough of his mercantile experience to 
know that a master's eye makes a ready servant. Ac- 
cordingly, with his tunic ungirdled on his portly stomach, 
his easy slippers on his feet, a small wand in his hand, 
wherewith he now directed the gaze, and now corrected 
the back, of some duller menial, he went from chamber to 
chamber of his costly villa. 

He did not disdain even a visit to that sacred apartment 
in which the priests of the festival prepare their offerings. 
On entering the kitchen, his ears were agreeably stunned 
by the noise of dishes and pans, of oaths and commands. 



k 



246 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Small as this indispensable chamber seems to have been in 
all the houses of Pompeii, it was, nevertheless, usually 
fitted up with all that amazing variety of stoves and 
shapes, stewpans and saucepans, cutters and moulds, with- 
out which a cook of spirit, no matter whether he be an 
ancient or a modern, declares it utterly impossible that he 
can give you anything to eat. And as fuel was then, as 
now, dear and scarce in those regions, great seems to have 
been the dexterity exercised in preparing as many things 
as possible with as little fire. An admirable contrivance 
of this nature may be still seen in the Neapolitan Museum, 
viz., a portable kitchen, about the size of a folio volume, 
containing stoves for four dishes, and an apparatus for 
heating water or other beverages. 

Across the small kitchen flitted many forms which the 
quick eye of the master did not recognise. 

" Oh ! oh! " grumbled he to himself, " that cursed Con- 
grio hath invited a whole legion of cooks to assist him. 
They won't serve for nothing, and this is another item in 
the total of my day's expenses. By Bacchus ! thrice lucky 
shall I be if the slaves do not help themselves to some of 
the drinking vessels : ready, alas, are their hands, capa- 
cious are their tunics. Me miserum ! " 

The cooks, however, worked on, seemingly heedless of 
the apparition of Diomed. 

" Ho, Euclio, your egg-pan ! What, is this the largest? 
it only holds thirty-three eggs : in the houses I usually 
serve, the smallest egg-pan holds fifty, if need be ! " 

" The unconscionable rogue ! " thought Diomed ; " he 
talks of eggs as if they were a sesterce a hundred ! " 

" By Mercury ! " cried a pert little culinary disciple, 
scarce in his novitiate ; " whoever saw such antique sweet- 
meat shapes as these ? — it is impossible to do credit to 
one's art with such rude materials. Why, Sallust's com- 
monest sweetmeat shape represents the whole siege of 

Troy ; Hector and Paris, and Helen with little Asty- 

anax and the Wooden Horse into the bargain ! " 

" Silence, fool ! " said Congrio, the cook of the house, 
who seemed to leave the chief part of the battle to his 
allies. " My master, Diomed, is not one of those expensive 
good-for-noughts, who must have the last fashion, cost 
what it will ! " 

" Thou liest, base Blave ! " cried Diomed, in a great 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 247 

passion, — " and thou costest me already enough to have 
ruined Lucullus himself ! Come out of thy den, I want to 
talk to thee." 

The slave, with a sly wink at his confederates, obeyed 
the command. 

" Man of three letters,"* said Diomed, with his face of 
solemn anger, " how didst thou dare to invite all those 
rascals into my house P — I see thief written in every line 
of their faces." 

"Yet, I assure you, master, that they are men of 
most respectable character — the best cooks of the place ; 
it is a great favour to get them. But for my sake—" 

" Thy sake, unhappy Congrio ! " interrupted Diomed ; 
" and by what purloined moneys of mine, by what reserved 
filchings from marketing, by what goodly meats con- 
verted into grease, and sold in the suburbs, by what false 
charges for bronzes marred, and earthenware broken 
— hast thou been enabled to make them serve thee for thy 
sake ? " 

" Nay, master, do not impeach my honesty ! May the 
gods desert me if " 

" Swear not ! " again interrupted the choleric Diomed, 
"for then the gods will smite thee for a perjurer, and I 
shall lose my cook on the eve of dinner. But, enough of 
this at present: keep a sharp eye on thy ill-favoured 
assistants, and tell me no tales to-morrow of vases broken, 
and cups miraculously vanished, or thy whole back shall 
be one pain. And hark thco ! thou knowest thou hast 
made me pay for those Phrygian aitagens * enough, by 
Hercules, to have feasted a sober man for a year together 
— see that they be not one iota over-roasted. The last 
time, Congrio, that I gave a banquet to my friends, 
when thy vanity did so boldly undertake the becoming 
appearance of a Melian crane — thou knowest it came up 
like a stone from -<Etna — as if all the fires of Phlegothon 
had been scorching out its juices. Be modest this time, 
Congrio — wary and modest. Modesty is the nurse of 
great actions ; and in all other things, as in this, if thou 

* The common witty objurgation, from tho trilateral word 'J fur" (thief). 

t The attagenof Phrygia or Ionia (the bird thus anglicised in the plural) 
was held in peculiar esteem by the llomans. "Attagen carnis suavis- 
simou." {Aden., lib. ix. cap. 8, 9.) It was a little bigger than a part- 
ridge. 



k 



243 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

wilt not spare thy master's purse, at least consult thy 
master's glory." 

" There shall not be such a ccena seen at Pompeii since 
the days of Hercules." 

" Softly, softly — thy cursed boasting again ! But I say, 
Congrio, yon hornununculus — yon pigmy assailant of my 
cranes — yon pert-tongued neophyte of the kitchen, was 
there aught but insolence on his tongue when he maligned 
the comeliness of my sweetmeat shapes ? I would not be 
out of the fashion, Congrio." 

" It is but the custom of us cooks," replied Congrio, 
gravely, " to undervalue our tools, in order to increase the 
effect of our art. The sweetmeat shape is a fair shape, 
and a lovely ; but I would recommend my master, at the 
first occasion, to purchase some new ones of a " 

" That will suffice," exclaimed Diomed, who seemed re- 
solved never to allow his slave to finish his sentences. 
" Now, resume thy charge — shine — eclipse thyself. Let 
men envy Diomed his cook — let the slaves of Pompeii 
style thee Congrio the great ! Go ! yet stay — thou hast 
not spent all the moneys I gave thee for the marketing ? " 

" * All 1 ' — alas ! the nightingales' tongues and the Ro- 
man tomacula,* and the oysters from Britain, and sundry 
other things, too numerous now to recite, are yet left un- 
paid for. But what matter ? every one trusts the Archi- 
maginis f of Diomed the wealthy ! " 

" Oh, unconscionable prodigal ! — what waste ! — what 
profusion ! — I am ruined ! But go, hasten — inspect ! — 
taste ! — perform ! — surpass thyself ! Let the Roman 
senator not despise the poor Pompeian. . Away, slave— 
and remember, the Phrygian attagens." 

The chief disappeared within his natural domain, and 
Diomed rolled back his portly presence to the more 
courtly chambers. All was to his liking — the flowers 
were fresh, the fountains played briskly, the mosaic pave* 
ments were as smooth as mirrors. 

" Where is my daughter Julia ? " ho asked. 

" At the bath." 

"Ah! that reminds me! — time wanes! — and I must 
bathe also." 

* " candiduli divina tomacula porci." — Juvenal, x. 1. 355. A rich 

and delicate species of sausage, 
f Airhimagirus was the lofty title of thccluef cook. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 249 

Our story returns to Apsecides. On awaking that day 
from the broken and feverish sleep which had followed 
his adoption of a faith so strikingly and sternly at variance 
with that in which his yonth had been nurtured, the young 
priest could scarcely imagine that he was not yet in a 
dream ; he had crossed the fatal river — the past was 
henceforth to have no sympathy with the future ; the two 
worlds were distinct and separate, — that which had been, 
from that which was to be. To what a bold and adven- 
turous enterprise he had pledged his life !— to unveil the 
mysteries in which he had participated — to desecrate the 
altars he had served — to denounce the goddess whose 
ministering robe he wore ! Slowly he became sensible of 
the hatred and the horror he should provoke amongst the 
pious, even if successful ; if frustrated in his daring 
attempt, what penalties might he not incur for an offence 
hitherto unheard of — for which no specific law, derived 
from experience, was prepared ; and which, for that very 
reason, precedents, dragged from the sharpest armoury of 
obsolete and inapplicable legislation, would probably be 
distorted to meet ! His friends, — the sister of his youth, 
— could he expect justice, though he might receive com- 
passion, from them ? This brave and heroic act would by 
their heathen eyes be regarded, perhaps, as a heinous 
apostasy — at the best, as a pitiable madness. 

He dared, he renounced, everything in this world, in the 
hope of securing that eternity in the next, which had so 
suddenly been revealed to him. While these thoughts on 
the one hand invaded his breast, on the other hand his 
pride, his courage, and his virtue, mingled with reminis- 
cences of revenge for deceit, of indignant disgust at fraud, 
conspired to raise and to support him. 

The conflict was sharp and keen ; but his new feelings 
triumphed over his old : and a mighty argument in favour 
of wrestling with the sanctities of old opinions and here- 
ditary forms might be found in the conquest over both, 
achieved by that humble priest. Had the early Christians 
been more controlled by "the solemn plausibilities of 
custom " — less of democrats in the pure and lofty accep- 
tation of that perverted word, — Christianity would have 
perished in its cradle ! 

As each priest in succession slept several nights toge- 
ther in the chambers of the temple, the term imposed on 



250 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

Apeecides was not yet completed ; and when he had risen 
from his couch, attired himself, as usual, in his robes, and 
left his narrow chamber, he found himself before the 
altars of the temple. 

In the exhaustion of his late emotions he had slept far 
into the morning, and the vertical sun already poured its 
fervid beams over the sacred place. 

" Salve, Apeecides ! "said a voice, whose natural asperity- 
was smoothed by long artifice into an almost displeasing 
softness of tone. " Thou art late abroad; has the goddess 
revealed herself to thee in visions ? " 

" Could she reveal her true self to the people, Calenus, 
how incenseless would be these altars ! " 

"That," replied Calenus, "may possibly be true; 
but the deity is wise enough to hold commune with none 
but priests." 

" A time may come when she will be unveiled without 
her own acquiescence." 

" It is not likely : she has triumphed for countless ages. 
And that which has so long stood the test of time rarely 
succumbs to the lust of novelty. But hark ye, young 
brother ! these sayings are indiscreet." 

"It is not for thee to silence them," replied Apeecides, 
haughtily. 

" So hot ! — yet I will not quarrel with thee. Why, my 
Apeecides, has not the Egyptian convinced thee of the 
necessity of our dwelling together in unity ? Has he not 
convinced thee of the wisdom of deluding the people and 
enjoying ourselves ? If not, oh, brother ! he is not that 
great magician he is esteemed." 

" Thou, then, hast shared his lessons ? " said Apeecides, 
with a hollow smile. 

"Ay! but I stood less in need of them than thou. 
Nature had already gifted me with the love of pleasure, 
and the desire of gain and power. Long is the way that 
leads the voluptuary to the severities of life ; but it is only 
one step from pleasant sin to sheltering hypocrisy. Be- 
ware the vengeance of the goddess, if the shortness of that 
step be disclosed ! " 

" Beware, thou, the hour when the tomb shall be rent 
and the rottenness exposed," returned Apeecides, solemnly. 
" Vale I " 
With these words he left the flamen to his meditations. 



k 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 251 

When he got a few paces from the temple, he turned to 
look back. Calenus had already disappeared in the entry- 
room of the priests, for it now approached the hour of that 
ropast which, called prandium by the ancients, answers in 
point of date to the breakfast of the moderns. The white 
and graceful fane gleamed brightly in the sun. Upon the 
altars before it rose the incense and bloomed the garlands. 
The priest gazed long and wistfully upon the scene — it 
was the last time that it was ever beheld by him ! 

He then turned and pursued his way slowly towards the 
house of lone ; for before possibly the last tie that united 
them was cut in twain — before the uncertain peril of the 
next day was incurred, he was anxious to see his last sur- 
viving relative, his fondest as his earliest friend. 

He arrived at her house, and found her in the garden 
with Nydia. 

" This is kind, Apaecides," said lone, joyfully ; " and 
how eagerly have I wished to see thee ! — what thanks do I 
not owe thee? How churlish hast thou been to answer 
none of my letters — to abstain from coming hither to 
receive the expressions of my gratitude ! Oh ! thou hast 
assisted to preserve thy sister from dishonour ! What, 
what can she say to thank thee, now thou art come at 
last ? " 

" My sweet lone, thou owest me no gratitude, for thy 
cause was mine. Let us avoid that subject, let us recur 
not to that impious man — how hateful to both of us ! I 
may have a speedy opportunity to teach the world the 
nature of his pretended wisdom and hypocritical severity. 
But let us sit down, my sister ; I am wearied with the heat 
of the sun ; let us sit in yonder shade, and, for a little 
while longer, be to each other what we have been." 

Beneath a wide plane-tree, with the cistus and the 
arbutus clustering round them, the living fountain be- 
fore, the greensward beneath their feet; the gay cicada, 
once so dear to Athens, rising merrily ever and anon 
amidst the grass; the butterfly, beautiful emblem of the 
soul, dedicated to Psyche, and which has continued to 
furnish illustrations to the Christian bard, rich in the 
glowing colours caught from Sicilian skies,* hovering 
about the sunny flowers, itself like a winged flower — in 

* In Sicily are found, perhaps, the most beautiful varieties of the but- 
terfly. 



252 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

this spot, and this scene, the brother and the sister sat 
together for the last time on earth. Yon may tread now 
on the same place ; bnt the garden is no more, the columns 
are shattered, the fountain has ceased to play. Let the 
traveller search amongst the ruins of Pompeii for the house 
of lone. Its remains are yet visible ; but I will not betray 
them to the gaze of commonplace tourists. He who is 
more sensitive than the herd will discover them easily: 
when he has done so, let him keep the secret. 

They sat down, and Nydia, glad to be alone, retired to 
the farther end of the garden. 

" lone, my sister," said the young convert, " place your 
hand upon my brow ; let me feci your cool touch. Speak 
to me, too, for your gentle voice is like a breeze that hath 
freshness as well as music. Speak to me, but forbear to 
bless me ! Utter not one word of those forms of speech 
which our childhood was taught to consider sacred ! M 

" Alas ! and what then shall I say ? Our language of 
affection is so woven with that of worship, that the words 
grow chilled and trite if I banish from them allusion to our 
gods." 

" Our gods ! " murmured Apeecides, with a shudder : 
" thou slightest my request already." 

" Shall I speak then to thee only of Isis ? " 

" The Evil Spirit ! No, rather be dumb for ever, unless 
at least thou canst — but away, away this talk ! Not 
now will we dispute and cavil; not now will we judge 
harshly of each other. Thou, regarding me as an apostate! 
and I all sorrow and shame for thee as an idolater. No, 
my sister, let us avoid such topics and such thoughts. In 
thy sweet presence a calm falls over my spirit. For a 
little while I forget. As I thus lay my temples on thy 
bosom, as I thus feel thy gentle arm embrace me, I think 
that we are children once more, and that the heaven smiles 
equally upon both. For oh! if hereafter I escape, no 
matter what peril ; and it be permitted me to address thee 
on one sacred and awful subject ; should I find thine ear 
closed and thy heart hardened, what hope for myself could 
countervail the despair for thee ? In thee, my sister, I 
behold a likeness made beautiful, made noble, of myself. 
Shall the mirror live for ever, and the form itself be 
broken as the potter's clay? Ah, no — no — thou wilt listen 
to mo yet ! Dost thou remember how we went into the 



THE LAST DA¥S OF POMPEII. 253 

fields by Baiee, hand in hand together, to plnck the flowers 
of spring? Even so, hand in hand, shall we enter the 
Eternal Garden, and crown ourselves with imperishable 
asphodel ! " 

Wondering and bewildered by words she could not com- 
prehend, but excited even to tears by the plaintiveness of 
their tone, lone listened to these outpourings of a full and 
oppressed heart. In truth, Apeecides himself was softened 
much beyond his ordinary mood, which to outward seeming 
was usually either sullen or impetuous. For the noblest 
desires are of a jealous nature — they engross, they absorb 
the soul, and often leave the splenetic humours stagnant 
and unheeded at the surface. Unheeding the petty things 
around us, we are deemed morose ; impatient at earthly 
interruption to the diviner dreams, we are thought irri- 
table and churlish. For as there is no chimera vainer than 
the hope that one human heart shall find sympathy in 
another, so none ever interpret us with justice ; and none, 
no, not our nearest and our dearest ties, forbear with us in 
mercy! When we are dead and repentance comes too 
late, both friend and foe may wonder to think how little 
there was in us to forgive ! 

" 1 will talk to thee then of our early years," said lone. 
" Shall yon blind girl sing to thee of the days of child- 
hood ? Her voice is sweet and musical, and she hath a 
song on that theme which contains none of those allusions 
it pains thee to hear." 

"Dost thou remember the words, my sister?" asked 
Apeecides. 

"Methinks yes; for the tune, which is simple, fixed 
them on my memory." 

" Sing to me then thyself. My ear is not in unison with 
unfamiliar voices ; and thine, lone, full of household asso- 
ciations, has ever been to me more sweet than all the hire- 
ling melodies of Lycia or of Crete. Sing tome!" 

lone beckoned to a slave that stood in the portico, and 
sending for her lute^sang, when it arrived, to a tender and 
simple air, the following verses : — 



£54 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

EEGRET FOR CHILDHOOD. 



"It is not that our earlier Heaven 
Escapes its April showers^ 
Or that to cnildhooo/s heart is given 
No snake amidst the flowers. 
Ah ! twined with grief 
Each brightest leal, 
That's wreath* d us by the Hours ! 
Young though we be, the Fast may sting 

The Present feed its sorrow ; 

But hope shines bright on every thing 

That waits us with the morrow. 

Like sun-lit glades, 

The dimmest shades 

Some rosy beam can borrow. 

n. 

It is not that our later years 

Of cares are woven wholly, 
But smiles less swiftly chase the tears, 

And wounds are healed more slowly. 
And Memory's vow 
To lost ones now, 
Makes joys too bright, unholy. 
And ever fled the Iris bow 

That smiled when clouds were o'er us. 
If storms should burst, uncheered we go, 
A drearier waste before us ; — 
And with the toys 
Of childish joys, 
"We've broke the staff that bore us! " 

Wisely and delicately had lone chosen that song, sad 
though its burthen seemed ; for when we are deeply 
mournful, discordant above all others is the voice of mirth: 
the fittest spell is that borrowed from melancholy itself, for 
dark thoughts can be softened down when they cannot be 
brightened ; and so they lose the precise and rigid outline 
of their truth, and their colours melt into the ideal. As 
the leech applies in remedy to the internal sore some out- 
ward irritation, which, by a gentler wound, draws away 
the venom of that which is more deadly, thus, in the rank- 
ling festers of the mind, our art is to divert to a milder ' 
sadness on the surface the pain that gnaweth at the core. 
And so with Apsecides, yielding to the influence of the 
silver voice that reminded him of the past, and told but of 
half the sorrow born to the present, he forgot his more 
immediate and fiery sources of anxious thought. He spent 
hours in making lone alternately sing to, and converse 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 255 

with, him ; and when he rose to leave .her, it was with a 
calmed and lulled mind. 

" lone," said he, as he pressed her hand, " should you 
hear my name blackened and maligned, will you credit the 
aspersion ? " 

"Never, my brother, never ! " 

"Dost thou not imagine, according to thy belief, that 
the evil-doer is punished hereafter, and the good re- 
warded ? " 

" Can you doubt it ? " 

"Dost thou think, then, that he who is truly good 
should sacrifice every selfish interest in his zeal for virtue ? " 

"He who doth so is the equal of the gods." 

" And thou beliovest that, according to the purity and 
courage with which he thus acts, shall be his portion of 
bliss beyond the grave ? " 

" So we are taught to hope." 

" Kiss me, my sister. One question more. — Thou art to 
be wedded to Glaucus : perchance that marriage may 
separate us more hopelessly — but not of this speak I now ; 
— thou art to be married to Glaucus — dost thou love him ? 
Nay, my sister, answer me by words." 

" Yes ! " murmured Jone, blushing. 

" Dost thou feel that, for his sake, thou couldst renounce 
pride, brave dishonour, and incur death ? I have heard 
that when women really lore, it is to that excess." 

" My brother, all this could I do for Glaucus, and feel 
that it were not a sacrifice. There is no sacrifice to those 
who love, in what is borne for the one we love." 

" Enough ! shall woman feel thus for man, and man feel 
less devotion to his God ? " 

He spoke no more. His whole countenance seemed 
instinct and inspired with a divine life : his chest swelled 
proudly ; his eyes glowed : on his forehead was writ the 
majesty of a man who can dare be noble ! He turned to 
meet the eyes of lone — earnest, wistful, fearful ; — he kissed 
her fondly, strained her warmly to his breast, and in a 
moment more he had left the house. 

Long did lone remain in the same place, mute and 
thoughtful. The maidens again and again came to warn 
her of the deepening noon, and her engagement to 
Diomed's banquet. At length she woke from her reverie, 
and prepared, not with the pride of beauty, but listless 



256 THE LAST DAYS OF fOMPEIt. 

and melancholy, for the festival : one thought alone re- 
conciled her to the promised visit — she should meet Glaucus 
— she could confide to him her alarm and uneasiness for 
her brother. 



i 



CHAPTER III. 

A FASHIONABLE PARTY AND A DINNER X LA MODE IN POMPEII, 

Meanwhile Sallust and Glaucus were slowly strolling 
towards the house of Diomed. Despite the habits of his 
life, Sallust was not devoid of many estimable qualities. 
He would have been an active friend, a useful citizen — in 
short an excellent man, if he had not taken it into his head 
to be a philosopher. Brought up in the schools in which 
Roman plagiarism worshipped the echo of Grecian wisdom, 
he had imbued himself with those doctrines by which the 
later Epicureans corrupted the simple maxims of their great 
master. He gave himself altogether up to pleasure, and 
imagined there was no sage like a boon companion. Still, 
however, ho had a considerable degree of learning, wit, and 
good nature ; and the hearty frankness of his very vices 
seemed like virtue itself beside the utter corruption of 
Clodius and the prostrate effeminacy of Lepidus; and 
therefore Glaucus liked him the best of his companions ; 
and he, in turn, appreciating the nobler qualities of the 
Athenian, loved him almost as much as a cold mureena, or 
a bowl of the best Falernian. 

" This is a vulgar old fellow, this .Diomed," said Sallust; 
"but he has some good qualities — in his cellar! " 

" And some charming ones — in his daughter." 

" True, Glaucus : but you are not much moved by them, 
methinks. I fancy Clodius is desirous to be your successor." 

" He is welcome. — At the banquet of Julia's beauty, no 
guest, be sure, is considered a musca." * 

" You are severe : but she has, indeed, something of the 
Corinthian about her — they will bo well matched, after all ! 
What good-natured fellows we are to associate with that 
gambling good-for-nought." 

" Pleasure unites strange varieties," answered Glaucus. 
" He amuses me " 

* Unwelcome and uninvited guests were called muscnp, or flies, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 257 

" And flatters ; — but then he pays himself well ! He 
powders his praise with gold-dust." 

" You often hint that ho plays unfairly — think you so 
really ? " 

" My dear Glaucus, a Roman noble has his dignity to 
keep up — dignity is very expensive — Clodius must cheat 
like a scoundrel, in order to live like a gentleman." 

" Ha ha ! — well, of late T have renounced the dice. Ah ! 
Sallust, when I am wedded to lone, I trust I may yet 
redeem a youth of follies. We are both born for better 
things than those in which we sympathise now — born to 
render our worship in nobler temples than the stye of 
Epicurus." 

" Alas ! " returned Sallust, in rather a melancholy tone, 
" what do we know more than this, — life is short — beyond 
the grave all is dark ? There is no wisdom like that which 
says * enjoy.' " 

" By Bacchus ! I doubt sometimes if we do enjoy the 
utmost of which life is capable." 

" I am a moderate man," returned Sallust, " and do not 
ask ' the utmost.' We are like malefactors, and intoxicate 
ourselves with wine and myrrh, as we stand on the brink 
of death ; but, if we did not do so, the abyss would look 
very disagreeable. I own that I was inclined to be gloomy 
until I took so heartily to drinking — that is a new life, my 
Glaucus." 

" Yes ! but it brings us next morning to a new death." 

"Why, the next morning is unpleasant, I own; but, 
then, if it were not so, one would never be inclined to read. 
I study betimes — because, by the gods ! I am generally 
unfit for anything else till noon." 

" Fie, Scythian ! " 

" Pshaw ! the fate of Pentheus to him who denies 
Bacchus." 

"Well, Sallust, with all your faults, you are the best 
profligate I ever met : and verily, if I were in danger of 
life, you are the only man in all Italy who would stretch 
out a finger to save me." 

"Perhaps I should not, if it were in the middle of 
supper. But, in truth, we Italians are fearfully selfish." 

" So are all men who are not free," said Glaucus, with a 
sigh. " Freedom alone makes men sacrifice to each other." 

"Freedom^then, must be a very fatiguing thing to an 

8 



i 



258 THE LAST DAY8 OF POMPEII. 

Epicurean," answered Sallust. "But here we are at our 
host's." 

As Diomed's villa is one of the most considerable in 
point of size of any yet discovered at Pompeii, and is, 
moreover, built much according to the specific instructions 
for a suburban villa laid down by the Roman architect, it 
may not be uninteresting briefly to describe the plan of the 
apartments through which our visitors passed. 

They entered, then, by the same small vestibule at which 
we have before been presented to the aged Medon, and 
passed at once into a colonnade, technically termed the 
peristyle; for the main difference between the suburban 
villa and the town mansion consisted in placing, in the 
first, the said colonnade in exactly the same place as that 
which in the town mansion was occupied by the atrium. 
In the centre of the peristyle was an open court, which 
contained the impluvium. 

From this peristyle descended a staircase to the offices ; 
another narrow passage on the opposite side communicated 
with a garden ; various small apartments surrounded the 
colonnade, appropriated probably to country visitors. 
Another door to the left on entering communicated with a 
small triangular portico, which belonged to the baths ; and 
behind was the wardrobe, in which were kept the vests of 
the holiday suits of the slaves, and, perhaps, of the master. 
Seventeen centuries afterwards were found those relics of 
ancient finery calcined and crumbling; kept longer, alas! 
than their thrifty lord foresaw. 

Return we to the peristyle, and endeavour now to present 
to the reader a coup <Toeil of the whole suite of apartments, 
which immediately stretched before the steps of the 
visitors. 

Let him then first imagine the columns of the portico, 
hung with festoons of flowers ; the columns themselves in 
the lower part painted red, and the walls around glowing 
with various frescoes ; then, looking beyond a curtain, three 
parts drawn aside, the eye caught the tablinum or saloon 
(which was closed at will by glazed doors, now slid back 
into the walls). On either side of this tablinum were 
small rooms, one of which was a kind of cabinet of gems ; 
and these apartments, as well as the tablinum, communi- 
cated with a long gallery, which opened at either end upon 
terraces; and between the terraces? and communicating 



' THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 259 

with the central part of the gallery, was a hall, in which 
the banqnet was that day prepared. All these apartments, 
though almost on a level with the street, were one story 
above the garden; and the terraces communicating with 
the gallery were continued into corridors, raised above the 
pillars which, to the right and left, skirted the garden 
below. 

Beneath, and on a level with the garden, ran the apart- 
ments we have already described as chiefly appropriated to 
Julia. 

In the gallery, then, just mentioned, Diomed received his 
guests. 

The merchant affected greatly the man of letters, and, 
therefore, he also affected a passion for everything Greek ; 
he paid particular attention to Glaucus. 

" You will see, my friend," said he, with a wave of his 
hand, " that I am a little classical here — a little Cecropian 
— eh ? The hall in which we shall sup is borrowed from 
the Greeks. It is an CEcus Cyzicene. Noble Sallust, they 
have not, I am told, this sort of apartment in Rome." 

" Oh ! " replied Sallust, with a half smile ; " you Pom- 
peians combine all that is most eligible in Greece and in 
Rome ; may you, Diomed, combine the viands as well as 
the architecture ! " 

" You shall see — you shall see, my Sallust," replied the 
merchant. " We have a taste at Pompeii, and we have 
also money." 

" They are two excellent things," replied Sallust. " But, 
behold, the lady Julia ! " 

The main difference, as I have before remarked, in the 
manner of life observed among the Athenians and Romans, 
was, that with the first, the modest women rarely or never 
took part in entertainments; with the latter, they were 
the common ornaments of the banquet; but when they 
were present at the feast, it usually terminated at an early 
hour. 

Magnificently robed in white, interwoven with pearls 
and threads of gold, the handsome Julia entered the 
apartment. 

Scarcely had she received the salutation of the two 

guests, ere Pansa and his wife, Lepidus, Clodius, and the 

Roman senator, entered almost simultaneously ; then came 

the widow Fulvia ; then the poet Fulvius, like to the widow 

s 2 



260 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

in name if in nothing else ; the warrior from Herculaneum, 
accompanied by his umbra, next stalked in ; afterwards, 
the less eminent of the guests. lone yet tarried. 

It was the mode among the courteous ancients to flatter 
whenever it was in their power : accordingly it was a sign 
of ill-breeding to seat themselves immediately on entering 
the house of their host. After performing the salutation, 
which was usually accomplished by the same cordial shake 
of the right hand which we ourselves retain, and some- 
times, by the yet more familiar embrace, they spent several 
minutes in surveying the apartment, and admiring the 
bronzes, the pictures, or the furniture, with which it was 
adorned — a mode very impolite according to our refined 
English notions, which place good-breeding in indifference. 
We would not for the world express much admiration of 
another man's house, for fear it should be thought we had 
never seen anything so fine before ! 

" A beautiful statue this of Bacchus ! " said the Roman 
senator. 

" A mere trifle ! " replied Diomed. 

" What charming paintings ! " said Fulvia. 

" Mere trifles ! " answered the owner. 

" Exquisite candelabra ! " cried the warrior. 

" Exquisite ! " echoed his umbra. 

" Trifles ! trifles ! " reiterated the merchant. 

Meanwhile, Glaucus found himself by one of the windows 
of the gallery, which communicated with the terraces^ and 
the fair Julia by his side. 

" Is it an Athenian virtue, Glaucus," said the merchant's 
daughter, " to shun those whom we once sought ? " 

"Pair Julia— no ! " 

" Yet, methinks, it is one of the qualities of Glaucus." 

"Glaucus never shuns a friend!" replied the Greek, 
with some emphasis on the last word. 

" May Julia rank among the number of his friends ? " 

" It would be an honour to the emperor to find a friend 
in one so lovely." 

"You evade my question," returned the enamoured 
Julia. " But tell me, is it true that you admire the Nea- 
politan lone ? " 

" Does not beauty constrain our admiration ? " 

" Ah ! subtle Greek, still do you fly the meaning of my 
words. But say, shall Julia be indeed your friend r " 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 261 

" If she will so favour me, blessed be the gods ! The 
day in which I am thus honoured shall be ever marked in 
white." 

" Yet, even while you speak, your eye is restless — your 
colour comes and goes — you move away involuntarily — 
you are impatient to join lone ! " 

For at that moment lone had entered, and Glaucus had 
indeed betrayed the emotion noticed by the jealous beauty. 

" Can admiration to one woman make me unworthy the 
friendship of another ? Sanction not so, O Julia, the libels 
of the poets on your sex ! " 

"Well, you are right — or I will learn to think so. 
Glaucus, yet one moment ! You are to wed lone ; is it 
not so ? " 

" If the Fates permit, such is my blessed hope." 

"Accept, then, from me, in token of our new friend- 
ship, a present for your bride. Nay, it is the custom of 
friends, you know, always to present to bride and bride- 
groom some such little marks of their esteem and favouring 
wishes." 

" Julia ! I cannot refuse any token of friendship from 
one like you. I will accept the gift as an omen from 
Fortune herself." 

" Then, after the feast, when the guests retire, you will 
descend with me to my apartment, and receive it from my 
hands. Remember ! " said Julia, as she joined the wife of 
Pansa, and left Glaucus to seek lone. 

The widow Fulvia and the spouse of the sedile were 
engaged in high and grave discussion. 

" O Fulvia ! I assure you that the last account from 
Rome declares that the frizzling mode of dressing the hair 
is growing antiquated ; they only now wear it built up in 
a tower, like Julia's, or arranged as a helmet — the Galerian 
fashion, like mine, you see : it has a fine efEcct, I think. 
I assure you, Vespius (Vespius was the name of the Her- 
culaneum hero) admires it greatly." 

" And nobody wears the hair liko yon Neapolitan, in the 
Greek way." 

" What, parted in front, with the knot behind ? Oh, 
no ; how ridiculous it is ! it reminds one of the statue of 
Diana ! Yet this lone is handsome, eh ? " 

" So the men say ; but then she is rich : she is to marry 



262 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 



the Athenian — 1 wish her joy. He will not be long faith- 
ful, I suspect ; those foreigners are very faithless." 

" Oh, Julia ! " said Fulvia, as the merchant's daughter 
joined them ; " have you seen the tiger yet ? " 

"No!" 

" Why, all the ladies have been to see him. He is so 
handsome ! " 

" I hope we shall find some criminal or other for him 
and the lion," replied Julia. " Your husband (turning to 
Pansa's wife) is not so active as he should be in this 
matter." 

" Why, really, the laws are too mild," replied the dame 
of the helmet. " There are so few offences to which the 
punishment of the arena can be awarded ; and then, too, 
the gladiators are growing effeminate! The stoutest 
bestiarii declare they are willing enough to fight a boar or 
a bull ; but as for a lion or a tiger, they think the game 
too much in earnest." 

" They are worthy of a mitre,"* replied Julia, in 
disdain. 

"Oh! have you seen the new house of Fulvius, the dear 
poet ? " said Pansa's wife. 

" No : is it handsome ? " 

" Very ! — such good taste. But they say, my dear, that 
he has such improper pictures ! He won't show them to 
the women : how ill-bred ! " 

" Those poets are always odd," said the widow. " But 
he is an interesting man ; what pretty verses he writes ! 
We improve very much in poetry : it is impossible to read 
the old stuff now." 

" I declare I am of your opinion," returned the lady of 
the helmet. " There is so much more force and energy in 
the modern school." 

The warrior sauntered up to the ladies. 

" It reconciles mo to peace," said he, "when I see such? 
faces." 

" Oh ! you heroes are ever flatterers," returned Fulvia, 
hastening to appropriate the compliment specially to 
herself. 

" By this chain, which I received from the emperor's own 
hand," replied the warrior, playing with a short chain 

* Mi 'res were worn sometimes hy men, and considered a great mark of 
effeminacy. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 263 

which hung round the neck like a collar, instead of de- 
scending to the breast, according to the fashion of the 
peaceful — " By this chain, you wrong me ! I am a blunt 
man — a soldier should be so." 

" How do you find the ladies of Pompeii generally ? " 
said Julia. • 

" By Venus, most beautiful ! They favour me a little, 
it is true, and that inclines my eyes to double their charms." 

" We love a warrior," said the wife of Pansa. 

" I see it : by Hercules ! it is even disagreeable to be too 
celebrated in these cities. At Herculaneum they climb the 
roof of my atrium to catch a glimpse of me through the 
compluvium ; the admiration of one's citizens is pleasant 
at first, but burthensome afterwards." 

" True, true, O Vespius ! " cried the poet, joining the 
group : "I find it so myself." 

" You ! " said the stately warrior, scanning the small 
form of the poet with ineffable disdain. " In what legion 
have you served? " 

" You may see my spoils, my exuviae, in the forum itself," 
returned the poet, with a significant glance at the women. 
" I have been among the tent-companions, the contub&rnales, 
of the great Mantuan himself." 

"I know no general from Mantua," said the warrior, 
gravely. " What campaign have you served ? " 

" That of Helicon." 

" I never heard of it." 

" Nay, Vespius, he does but joke," said Julia, laughing. 

" Joke ! By Mars, am I a man to be joked ! " 

" Yes ; Mars himself was in love with the mother of 
jokes," said the poet, a little alarmed. " Know, then, O 
Vespius ! that I am the poet Fulvius. It is I who make 
warriors immortal ! " 

" The gods forbid ! " whispered Sallust to Julia. " If 
Vespius were made immortal, what a specimen of tiresome 
braggadocio would be transmitted to posterity ! " 

The soldier looked puzzled ; when, to the infinite relief 
of himself and his companions, the signal for the feast was 
given. 

As we have already witnessed at the house of Glaucus 
the ordinary routine of a Pompeian entertainment, the 
reader is spared any second detail of the courses, and the 
manner in which they were introduced. 



k 



264 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

Diomcd, who was rather ceremonious, had appointed a 
nomenclator, or appointer of places, to each guest. 

The reader understands that the festive board was com- 
posed of three tables ; one at the centre, and one at each 
wing. It was only at the outer side of these tables that 
the guests reclined ; the inner space was left untenanted, 
for the greater convenience of the waiters or ministri. 
The extreme corner of one of tho wings was appropriated 
to Julia as the lady of the feast ; that next her, to Diomed. 
At one corner of the centre table was placed the sedile ; at 
the opposite corner, the Roman senator — these were the 
posts of honour. The other guests were arranged, so that 
the young (gentleman or lady) should sit next each other, 
and the more advanced in years be similarly matched. An 
agreeable provision enough, but one which must often have 
offended those who wished to be thought still young. 

The chair of lone was next to the couch of Glaucus.* 
The seats were veneered with tortoise-shell, and covered 
with quilts stuffed with feathers, and ornamented with 
costly embroideries. The modern ornaments of epergne 
or plateau were supplied by images of the gods, wrought in 
bronze, ivory, and silver. The sacred salt-cellar and the 
familiar Lares were not forgotten. Over the table and the 
seats a rich canopy was suspended from the ceiling. At 
each corner of the table were lofty candelabra — for 
though it was early noon, the room was darkened — while 
from tripods, placed in different parts of the room, dis- 
tilled the odour of myrrh and frankincense ; and upon the 
abacus, or sideboard, large vases and various ornaments of 
silver were ranged, much with the same ostentation (but 
with more than the same taste) that we find displayed at a 
modern feast. 

The custom of grace was invariably supplied by that of 
libations to the gods ; and Vesta, as queen of the household 
gods, usually received first that graceful homage. 

This ceremony being performed, the slaves showered 
flowers upon the couches and tho floor, and crowned each 
guest with rosy garlands, intricately woven with ribands, 
tied by tho rind of the linden -tree, and each intermingled 
with the ivy and tho amethyst- — supposed preventives 

* In formal parties the women sat in chairs, — tho men reclined. It was 
only in tho bosom of families that the same ease was granted to both sexes 
— the reason is obvious. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 265 

against the effect of wine ; the wreaths of the women only 
were exempted from these leaves, for it was not the fashion 
for them to drink wine in public. It was then that the 
president Diomed thought it advisable to institute a basi- 
leus, or director of the feast — an important office, sometimes 
chosen by lot ; sometimes, as now, by the master of the 
entertainment. 

Diomed was not a little puzzled as to his election. The 
invalid senator was too grave and too infirm for the proper 
fulfilment of his duty ; the radile Pansa was adequate 
enough to the task ; but then, to choose the next in official 
rank to the senator, was an affront to the senator himself. 
While deliberating between the merits of the others, he 
caught the mirthful glance of Sallust, and, by a sudden 
inspiration, named the jovial epicure to the rank of director, 
or arbiter bibendi. 

Sallust received the appointment with becoming hu- 
mility. 

" I shall be a merciful king," said he, " to those who 
drink deep ; to a recusant, Minos himself shall be less 
inexorable. Beware ! " 

The slaves handed round basins of perfumed water, by 
which lavation the feast commenced : and now the table 
groaned under the initiatory course. 

The conversation, at first desultory and scattered, al- 
lowed lone and Glaucus to carry on those sweet whispers, 
which are worth all the eloquence in the world. Julia 
watched them with flashing eyes. 

" How soon shall her place be mine ! " thought she. 

But Clodius, who sat in the centre table, so as to observe 
well the countenance of Julia, guessed her pique, and re- 
solved to profit by it. He addressed her across the table 
in set phrases of gallantry ; and as he was of high birth 
and of a showy person, the vain Julia was not so much 
in love as to be insensible to his attentions. 

The slaves, in the interim, were constantly kept upon 
the alert by the vigilant Sallust, who chased one cup by 
another with a celerity which seemed as if he were resolved 
upon exhausting those capacious cellars which the reader 
may yet see beneath the house of Diomed. The worthy 
merchant began to repent his choice, as amphora after 
amphora was pierced and emptied. The slaves, all under 
the age of manhood (tho youngest being about ten years 



266 THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 

old, — it was they who filled the wine, — the eldest, some 
five years older, mingled it with water), seemed to share in 
the zeal of Sallost ; and the face of Diomed began to glow 
as he watched the provoking complacency with which they 
seconded the exertions of the king of the feast. 

" Pardon me, senator ! " said Sallost ; " I see you 
flinch ; yonr purple hem cannot save yon — drink ! " 

" By the gods," said the senator, conghing, " my lungs 
are already on fire; yon proceed with so miraculous a 
swiftness, that Phaeton himself was nothing to yon. I am 
infirm, O pleasant Sallust : yon must exonerate me." 

" Not I, by Vesta ! I am an impartial monarch — 
drink ! " 

The poor senator, compelled by the laws of the table, 
was forced to comply. Alas ! every enp was bringing him 
nearer and nearer to the Stygian pool. 

" Gently ! gently ! my king," groaned Diomed ; " we 
already begin to " 

"Treason!" interrupted Sallust; "no stern Brutus 
here ! — no interference with royalty ! " 

" But our female guests " 

" Love a toper ! Did not Ariadne dote upon Bacchus ? " 

The feast proceeded ; the guests grew more talkative and 
noisy ; the dessert or last course was already on the table ; 
and the slaves bore round water with myrrh and hyssop 
for the finishing lavation. At the same time, a small 
circular table that had been placed in the spaco opposite 
the guests suddenly, and as by magic, seemed to open in 
the centre, and cast up a fragrant shower, sprinkling the 
table and the guests ; while as it ceased the awning above 
them was drawn aside, and the guests perceived that a 
rope had been stretched across the ceiling, and that one of 
those nimble dancers for which Pompeii was so celebrated, 
and whose descendants add so charming a grace to the 
festivities of Astley's or Vauxhall, was now treading his 
airy measures right over their heads. 

This apparition, removed but by a cord from one's 
pericranium, and indulging the most vehement leaps, appa- 
rently with the intention of alighting upon that cerebral 
region, would probably be regarded with some terror by a 
party in May Fair ; but our Pompeian revellers seemed to 
behold the spectacle with delighted curiosity, and applauded 
in proportion as the dancer appeared with the most difli- 



THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEIt. 267 

culty to miss falling upon the head of whatever guest he 
particularly selected to dance above. He paid the senator, 
indeed, the peculiar compliment of literally falling from 
the rope, and catching it again with his hand, just as the 
whole party imagined the skull of the Roman was as much 
fractured as ever that of the poet whom the eagle took for 
a tortoise. At length, to the great relief of at leatft lone, 
who had not much accustomed herself to this entertain- 
ment, the dancer suddenly paused as a strain of music was 
heard from without. He danced again still more wildly ; 
the air changed, the dancer paused again ; no, it could not 
dissolve the charm which was supposed to possess him! 
He represented one who by a strange disorder is compelled 
to dance, and whom only a certain air of music can cure.* 
At length the musician seemed to hit on the right tune ; 
the dancer gave one leap, swung himself down from the 
rope, alighted on the floor, and vanished. 

One art now yielded to another ; and the musicians who 
were stationed without on the terrace struck up a soft and 
mellow air, to which were sung the following words, made 
almost indistinct by the barrier between, and the exceed- 
ing lowness of the minstrelsy : — 

FESTIVE MUSIC SHOULD BE LOW. 

i. 

" Hark ! through these flowers our music sends its greeting 
To your loved halls, where Psilasf shuns the day ; 
When the young god his Cretan nymph was meeting 
He taught Pan's rustic nipe this gliding lay : 
Soft as the dews of wine 

Shed in this banquet hour, 
The rich libation of Sound's stream divine, 
reverent harp, to Aphrodite pour ! 

II. 

Wild rings the trump o'er ranks to glory marching ; 

Music's sublimer bursts for war are meet; 
But sweet lips murmuring under wreaths o'er- arching, 
Find the low whispers like their own most sweet. 
Steal, my lull'd music, steal 

Like woman's half-heard tone, 
So that whoe'er shall hear, shall think to feel 
In thee the voice of lips that love his own." 

At the end of that song Ione's cheek blushed more 
* A dance still retained in Campania. f Bacchus. 



4 



268 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

deeply than before, and Glaucus had contrived, under cover 
of the table, to steal her hand. 

" It is a pretty song," said Falvius, patronisingly. 

" Ah ! if you would oblige ns ! " murmured the wife of 
Pansa. 

" Do you wish Fulvius to sing ? " asked the king of the 
feast, who had just called on the assembly to drink the 
health of the Roman senator, a cup to each letter of his 
name. 

" Can you ask ? " said the matron, with a complimentary 
glance at the poet. 

Sallust snapped his fingers, and whispering the slave 
who came to learn his orders, the latter disappeared, and 
returned in a few moments with a small harp in one hand, 
and a branch of myrtle in the other. 

The slave approached the poet, and with a low reverence 
presented to him the harp. 

" Alas ! I cannot play," said the poet. 

" Then you must sing "to the myrtle. It is a Greek 
fashion : Diomed loves the Greeks — I love the Greeks — 
you love the Greeks — we all love the Greeks — and between 
you and me this is not the only thing we have stolen from 
them. However, I introduce this custom — I, the king: 
sing, subject, sing ! " 

The poet, with a bashful smile, took the myrtle in his 
hands, and after a short prelude sang as follows, in a plea- 
sant and well- tuned voice : — 

TIIE CORONATION OF THE LOVES.* 

i. 

"The merry Loves one holiday 
Were all at gambols madly ; 
But Loves too long can seldom play 

Without behaving sadly. 
Thoy laugh'd, they toy'd, they romp'd about, 
And* then for change they all fell out. 
Fie, fie ! how can they quarrel so ? 
My Lesbia— ah, for shame, love! 
Mcthinks 'tis scarce an hour ago 
When we did just the same, love. 



* Suggested by two Poraneian picturos in the museum at Naples, which 
represented a dove and a helmet enthroned by Cupids. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 2G9 



ii. 

The Loves, 'tis thought, were free till then, 

They had no king or laws, dear ; 
But gods, like men, should subject be, 

Say all the ancient saws, dear. 
And so our crew resolved, for quiet, 
To choose a king to curb their riot. 

A kiss : ah ! what a grievous thing 

For both, methinks, 'twould be, child, 
If I should take some prudish king, 
And cease to be so free, child ! 



in. 

Among their toys a Casque they found, 

It was the helm of Ares ; 
With horrent plumes the crest was crown* d, 

It frightened all the Lares. 
So fine a king was never known — 
They placed the helmet on the throne. 
My girl, since Valour wins the world, 

They chose a mighty master ; 
But thy sweet flag of smiles unfurled 
Would win the world much faster ! 



IV. 

The Casque soon found the Loves too wild 

A troop for him to school them ; 
For warriors know'how one such child 

Has aye contrived to fool them. 
They plagued him so, that in* despair 
^ He took a wife the plague tc share. 
~ If kings themselves thus find the stiife 

Of earth, unshared, severe, girl ; 
Why just to halve the ills of life, 
Come, take your partner here, girl. 



v. 

Within that room the Bird of Love 
The whole affair had eyed then ; 
The monarch hail'd the royal dove, 
And placed her by his side then : 
What mirth amidst the Loves was seen ! 
* Long live,' they cried, * our King and Queen.' 
Ah ! Lesbia, would that thrones were mine, 

And crowns to deck that brow, love ! 
And yet I know that heart of thine 
For me is throne enow, love ! 



VI. 

The urchins hoped to tease the mate 
As they had teased the hero ; 

But when the Dove in judgment sate 
They found her worse than Nero ! 



270 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Each look a frown, each word a law ; 
The little subjects shook with awe. 
In thee I find the same deceit ; — 

Too late, alas ! a learner ! 
For where a mien more gently sweet ? 
And where a tyrant sterner ? " 

This song, which greatly suited the gay and lively fancy 
of the Pompeians, was received with considerable applause, 
and the widow insisted on crowning her namesake with 
the very branch of myrtle to which he had sung. It was 
easily twisted into a garland, and the immortal Fulvius 
was crowned amidst the clapping of hands and shouts of 
Io triumphs ! The song and the harp now circulated 
round the party, a new myrtle branch being handed 
about, stopping at each person who could be prevailed 
upon to sing.* 

The sun began now to decline, though the revellers, who 
had worn away several hours, perceived it not in their 
darkened chamber ; and the senator, who was tired, and 
the warrior, who had to return to Herculaneum, rising to 
depart, gave the signal for the general dispersion. " Tarry 
yet a moment, my friends," said Diomed ; " if you will go 
so soon, you must at least take a share in our concluding 
game." 

So saying, he motioned to one of the ministri, and 
whispering him, the slave went out, and presently returned 
with a small bowl containing various tablets carefully 
sealed, and, apparently, exactly similar. Each guest was 
to purchase one of these at the nominal price of the lowest 
piece of silver : and the sport of this lottery (which was 
the favourite diversion of Augustus, who introduced it) 
consisted in the inequality, and sometimes the incongruity, 
of the prizes, the nature and amount of which were speci- 
fied within the tablets. For instance, the poet, with a wry 
face, drew one of his own poems (no physician ever less 
willingly swallowed his own draught) ; the warrior drew a 
case of bodkins, which gave rise to certain novel witticisms 
relative to Hercules and the distaff ; the widow Fulvia ob- 
tained a large drinking- cup ; Julia, a gentleman's buckle ; 
and Lepidus, a lady's patch-box. The most appropriate 
lot was drawn by the gambler Clodius, who reddened with. 

* According to Plutarch (Sytnpos. lib. i.) it seems that the -branch of 
myrtle or laurel was not carried round in order, but passed from the first 
person on one couch to the first on another, and then from the second on the 
one to the second on the other, and so on. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 271 

anger on being presented to a set of cogged dice.* A 
certain damp was thrown upon the gaiety which these 
various lots created by an accident that was considered 
ominous; Glaucus drew the most valuable of all the 
prizes, a small marble statue of Fortune, of Grecian work- 
manship : on handing it to him the slave suffered it to 
drop, and it broke in pieces. 

A shiver went round the assembly, and each voice cried 
spontaneously on the gods to avert the omen. 

Glaucus alone, though perhaps as superstitious as the 
rest, affected to be unmoved. 

" Sweet Neapolitan," whispered he tenderly to lone, who 
had turned pale as the broken marble itself, " I accept the 
omen. It signifies that in obtaining thee, Fortune can 
give no more, — she breaks her image when she blesses me 
with thine." 

In order to divert the impression which this incident had 
occasioned in an assembly which, considering the civilisa- 
tion of the guests, would seem miraculously superstitious, 
if at the present day in a country party we did not often 
see a lady grow hypochondriacal on leaving a room last of 
thirteen, Sallust now crowning his cup with flowers, gave 
the health of their host. This was followed by a similar 
compliment to the emperor ; and then, with a parting cup 
to Mercury to send them pleasant slumbers, they concluded 
the entertainment by a last libation, and broke up the party. 

Carriages and litters were little used in Pompeii, partly 
owing to the extreme narrowness of the streets, partly to 
the convenient smallness of the city. Most of the guests 
replacing their sandals, which they had put off in the ban- 
quet-room, and induing their cloaks, left the house on foot 
attended by their slaves. 

Meanwhile, having seen lone depart, Glaucus turning to 
the staircase which led down to the rooms of Julia, was 
conducted by a slave to an apartment in which he found 
the merchant's daughter already seated. 

" Glaucus ! " said she, looking down, " I see that you 
really love lone — she is indeed beautiful." 

" Julia is charming enough to be generous," replied the 
Greek. "Yes, I love lone; amidst all the youth who 
court you, may you have one worshipper as sincere." 

* Several cogged dice were found in Pompeii. Some of the virtues may 
be modern, but it is quite clear that all the vices are ancient. 



272 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

" I pray the gods to grant it ! See, Glaucus, these pearls 
arc the present I destine to your bride : may Juno give 
her health to wear them ! " 

So saying, she placed a case in his hand, containing a row 
of pearls of some sizo and price. It was so mnch the 
custom for persons about to be married to receive these 
gifts, that Glaucus could have little scruple in accepting 
the necklace, though the gallant and proud Athenian inly 
resolved to requite the gift by one of thrice its value. 
Julia then stopping short his thanks, poured forth some 
wine into a small bowl. 

" You have drunk many toasts with my father," said 
she, smiling, — "o^ie now with me. Health and fortune to 
your bride ! " 

She touched the cup with her lips and then presented it 
to Glaucus. The customary etiquette required that Glaucus 
should drain the whole contents ; he accordingly did so. 
Julia, unknowing the deceit which Nydia had practised 
upon her, watched him with sparkling eyes ; although the 
witch had told her that the effect might not be immediate, 
she yet sanguinely trusted to an expeditious operation in 
favour of her charms. She was disappointed when she 
found Glaucus coldly replace the cup, and converse with 
her in the same unmoved but gentle tone as before. And 
though she detained him as long as she decorously could 
do, no change took place in his manner. 

" But to-morrow," thought she, exultingly recovering 
her disappointment, — " to-morrow, alas for Glaucus ! " 

Alas for him, indeed ! 



CHAPTEE IV. 

THE STORY HALTS FOB A MOMENT AT AN EPISODE. 

Restless and anxious, Aprocides consumed the day in 
wandering through the most sequestered walks in the 
vicinity of the city. The sun was slowly setting as he 
paused beside a lonely part of the Sarnus, ere yet it wound 
amidst the evidences of luxury and power. Only through 
openings in the woods and vines were caught glimpses of 
the white and gleaming city, in which was heard in the 



the last da?s otf pompeil 273 

distance no din, no sound, nor "busiest hum of men.'* 
Amidst the green banks crept the lizard and the grass- 
hopper, and hore and thcro in the brake some solitary bird 
burst into sudden song, as suddenly stilled. There was 
deep calm around, but not the calm of night ; the air still 
breathed of the freshness and life of day ; the grass still 
moved to the stir of the insect horde ; and on the opposita 
bank the graceful and white capella passed browsing 
through the herbage, and paused at the wave to drink. 

As Apaecides stood musingly gazing upon the waters, he 
heard beside him the low bark of a dog. 

" Be still, poor friend," said a voice at hand ; " the 
stranger's step harms not thy master." The convert 
recognised the voice, and, turning, he beheld the old 
mysterious man whom he had seen in the congregation of 
the Nazarenes. 

The old man was sitting upon a fragment of stone 
covered with ancient mosses ; beside him were his staff and 
scrip ; at his feet lay a small shaggy dog, the companion in 
how many a pilgrimage perilous and strange. 

The face of the old man was as balm to the excited spirit 
of the neophyte : he approached, and craving his blessing, 
sat down beside him. 

" Thou art provided as for a journey, father," said he : 
" wilt thou leave us yet ? " 

" My son," replied the old man, "the days in store for 
me on earth are few and scanty ; I employ them as 
becomes me, travelling from place to place, comforting 
those whom God has gathered together in His name, and 
proclaiming the glory of His Son, as testified to His 
servant." 

"Thou hast looked, they tell me, on the face of Christ?" 

" And the face revived me from the dead. Know, young 
proselyte to the true faith, that I am he of whom thou 
readest in the scroll of the Apostle. In the far Judea, and 
in the city of Nain, there dwelt a widow, humble of spirit 
and sad of heart ; for of all the ties of life ono son alone 
was spared to her. And she loved him with a melancholy 
love, for he was the likeness of the lost. And the son 
died. The reed on which she leaned was broken, the oil 
was dried up in the widow's cruse. They bore the dead 
upon his bier ; and near the gate of the city, where the 
crowd were gathered, there came a silence over the sounds 

T 



274 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

of woe, for the Son of God was passing by. The mother, 
who followed the bier, wept, — not noisily, but all who 
looked upon her saw that her heart was crushed. And the 
Lord pitied her, and he touched the bier, and said, * I sat 
unto thee, Arise.' And the dead man woke and looked 
upon the face of the Lord. Oh, that calm and solemn 
brow, that unutterable smile, that careworn and sorrowful 
face, lighted up with a God's benignity — it chased away 
the shadows of the grave ! I rose, I spoke, I was living, 
and in my mother's arms — yes, I am the dead revived ! 
The people shouted, the funeral horns rung forth merrily : 
there was a cry, ' God has visited His people ! ' I heard 
them not — I felt — I saw — nothing — but the face of the 
Redeemer ! " 

The old man paused, deeply moved ; and the youth felt 
his blood creep, and his hair stir. He was in the presence 
of one who had known the Mystery of Death ! 

•' Till that time," renewed the widow's son, " I had been 
as other men : thoughtless, not abandoned ; taking no 
heed, but of the things of love and life; nay, I had inclined 
to the gloomy faith of the earthly Sadducee ! But, raised 
from the dead, from awful and desert dreams that these 
lips never dare reveal — recalled upon earth, to testify the 
powers of Heaven — once more mortal, the witness 01 im- 
mortality ; I drew a new being from the grave. O faded 
— O lost Jerusalem ! — Him from whom came my life, I 
beheld adjudged to the agonised and parching death ! — Far 
in the mighty crowd, I saw the light rest and glimmer 
over the cross ; I heard the hooting mob, I cried aloud, I 
raved, I threatened — none heeded me — I was lost in the 
whirl and the roar of thousands ! But even then, in my 
agony and His own, methought the glazing eye of the Son 
of Man sought me out — His lip smiled, as when it con- 
quered death — it hushed me, and I became calm. He who 
had defied the grave for another, — what was the grave to 
him ? The sun shone aslant the pale and powerful fea- 
tures, and then died away ! Darkness fell over the earth ; 
how long it endured, I know not. A loud cry came 
through the gloom — a sharp and bitter cry ! — and all was 
silent. 

" But who shall tell the terrors of the night ? I walked 
along the city — the earth reeled to and fro, and the houses 
trembled to their base — the living had deserted the streets 



the Las? Da¥s otf pompeil 273 

distance no din, no sound, nor "busiest hum of men.'* 
Amidst the green banks crept the lizard and the grass- 
hopper, and here and thcro in the brake some solitary bird 
burst into sudden song, as suddenly stilled. There was 
deep calm around, but not the calm of night ; the air still 
breathed of the freshness and life of day ; the grass still 
moved to the stir of the insect horde ; and on the opposita 
bank the graceful and white capella passed browsing 
through the herbage, and paused at the wave to drink. 

As ApaBcides stood musingly gazing upon the waters, he 
heard beside him the low bark of a dog. 

" Be still, poor friend," said a voice at hand ; " the 
stranger's step harms not thy master." The convert 
recognised the voice, and, turning, he beheld the old 
mysterious man whom he had seen in the congregation of 
the Nazarcnes. 

The old man was sitting upon a fragment of stone 
covered with ancient mosses ; beside him were his staff and 
scrip ; at his feet lay a small shaggy dog, the companion in 
how many a pilgrimage perilous and strange. 

The face of the old man was as balm to the excited spirit 
of the neophyte : he approached, and craving his blessing, 
sat down beside him. 

" Thou art provided as for a journey, father," said he : 
"wilt thou leave us yet ? " 

" My son," replied the old man, "the days in store for 
me on earth are few and scanty ; I employ them as 
becomes me, travelling from place to place, comforting 
those whom God has gathered together in His name, and 
proclaiming the glory of His Son, as testified to His 
servant." 

"Thou hast looked, they tell me, on the face of Christ?" 

" And the face revived me from the dead. Know, young 
proselyte to the true faith, that I am he of whom thou 
readest in the scroll of the Apostle. In the far Judea, and 
in the city of Nain, there dwelt a widow, humble of spirit 
and sad of heart ; for of all the ties of life one son alone 
was spared to her. And she loved him with a melancholy 
love, for he was the likeness of the lost. And the son 
died. The reed on which she leaned was broken, the oil 
was dried up in the widow's cruse. They bore the dead 
upon his bier ; and near the gate of the city, where the 
crowd were gathered, there came a silence over the sounds 

T 



276 THE LAST DAYS OF POXPEIL 

*• But the night Is chill for thine age, my father, and 
the way is Ions?, and the robber haunts it ; rest thee till 
to -morrow." 

•* Kind son. what is there in this scrip to tempt the 
robber ? And the Xight and the Solitude ! — tke**> make 
the bidder round which angels cluster, and beneath which 
my spirit can dream of God. Oh ! none can know what 
the pilgrim feels as he walks on his holy course: nursing 
no fear, and dread in? no danger — for God is with him! 
He hears the winds murmur glad tidings ; the woods sleep 
in the shadow of Almighty wings : — the stars are the 
Scriptures of Heaven, the tokens of love, and the wit- 
nesses of immortality. Night is the Pilgrim's day/' With 
these words the old man pressed Apccides to his breast, 
and taking np his staff and scrip, the dog bounded cheerily 
before him, and with slow steps and downcast eyes he 
went his wav. 

The convert stood watching his bended form, till the 
trees shut the last glimpse from his view ; and then, as the 
star.s broke forth, he woke from the musings with a start, 
reminded of his appointment with Olinthns. 



CHAPTER V. 



THE PHILTRE — ITS EFFECT. 



When Glaucus arrived at his own home, he found Nydia 
seated under the portico of his garden. In fact, she had 
sought his house in the mere chance that he might return 
at an early hour: anxious, fearful, anticipative, she re- 
solved upon seizing the earliest opportunity of availing 
herself of the love-charm, while at the same time she half 
hoped the opportunity might be deferred. 

It was then, in that fearful burning mood, her heart 
beating, her cheek flushing, that Xydia awaited the possi- 
bility of GlaiicnVs return before the night. He crossed 
the portico just ns the first stars began to rise, and the 
heaven above had assumed its most purple robe. 

" Ho, my child, wait you for me ? "' 

"Nay, I have been tending the flowers, and did but 
linger a little while to rest myself; " 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 277 

" It has been warm," said Glaucus, placing himself also 
on one of the seats beneath the colonnade. 

"Very." 

" Wilt thou summon Davus ? The wine I have drunk 
heats me, and I long for some cooling drink." 

Here at once, suddenly and unexpectedly, the very 
opportunity that Nydia awaited presented itself ; of him- 
self, at his own free choice, he afforded to her that occa- 
sion. She breathed quick — " I will prepare for you 
myself," said she, " the summer draught that lone loves — 
of honey and weak wine cooled in snow." 

" Thanks," said the unconscious Grlaucus. " If lone 
love it, enough ; it would be grateful were it poison." 

Nydia frowned, and then smiled; she withdrew for a 
few moments, and returned with the cup containing the 
beverage. Glaucus took it from her hand. What would 
not Nydia have given then for one hour's prerogative of 
sight, to have watched her hopes ripening to effect ; — to 
have seen the first dawn of the imagined love ; — to have 
worshipped with more than Persian adoration the rising 
of that sun which her credulous soul believed was to break 
upon her dreary night ! Far different, as she stood then 
and there, were the thoughts, the emotions of the blind 
girl, from those of the vain Pompeian under a similar 
suspense. In the last, what poor and frivolous passions 
had made up the daring whole ! What petty pique, what 
small revenge, what expectation of a paltry triumph, had 
swelled the attributes of that sentiment she dignified with 
the name of love ! but in the wild heart of the Thessalian 
all was pure, uncontrolled, unmodified passion ; — erring, 
unwomanly, frenzied, but debased by no elements of a 
more sordid feeling. Filled with love as with life itself, 
how could she resist the occasion of winning love in 
return ! 

She leaned for support against the wall, and her face, 
before so flushed, was now white as snow, and with her 
delicate hands clasped convulsively together, her lips apart, 
her eyes on the ground, she waited the next words Glaucus 
should utter. 

Glaucus had raised the cup to his lips, he had already 
drained about a fourth of its contents, when his eye sud- 
denly glancing upon the face of Nydia, he was so forcibly 
struck by its alteration, by its intense, and painful, and 



278 THE LAST DATS OF POMPEII. 

strange expression, that he paused abruptly, and still hold- 
ing the cup near his lips, exclaimed— 

" Why, Nydia ! Nydia ! I say, art thou ill or in pain ? 
Nay, thy face speaks for thee. What ails my poor child ? " 
As he spoke, he pnt down the cnp and rose from his seat 
to approach hor, when a sudden pang shot coldly to his 
heart, and was followed by a wild, confused, dizzy sensa- 
tion at the brain. The floor seemed to glide from under 
him — his feet seemed to move on air — a mighty and un- 
earthly gladness rushed upon his spirit — he felt too buoyant 
for the earth — he longed for wings, nay, it seemed in the 
buoyancy of his new existence, as 1/ he possessed them. 
He burst involuntarily into a loud and thrilling laugh. He 
clapped his hands — he bounded aloft — he was as a Python- 
ess inspired ; suddenly as it came this preternatural tran- 
sport passed, though only partially, away. He now felt 
his blood rushing loudly and rapidly through his veins ; it 
seemed to swell, to exult, to leap along, as a stream that 
has burst its bounds, and hurries to the ocean. It throbbed 
in his ear with a mighty sound, he felt it mount to his 
brow, he felt the veins in the temples stretch and swell as 
if they could no longer contain the violent and increasing 
tide — then a kind of darkness fell over his eyes — darkness, 
but not entire; for through the dim shade he saw the 
opposite walls glow out, and the figures painted thereon 
seemed, ghost-like, to creep and glide. What was most 
strange, he did not feel himself ill — he did not sink or 
quail beneath the dread frenzy that was gathering over him. 
The novelty of the feelings seemed bright and vivid — he felt 
as if a younger health had been infused into his frame. 
He was gliding on to madness — and he knew it not ? 

Nydia had not answered his first question — she had not 
been able to reply — his wild and fearful laugh had roused 
her from her passionate suspense : she could not see his fierce 
gesture — she could not mark his reeling and unsteady step 
as he paced unconsciously to and fro ; but she heard the 
words, broken, incoherent, insane, that gushed from, his 
lips. She became terrified and appalled — she hastened to 
him, feeling with her arms until she touched his knees, and 
then falling on the ground she embraced them, weeping 
with terror and excitement. 

" Oh, speak to me ! speak ! you do not hate me ?— 
speak, speak ! " 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 279 

" By the bright goddess, a beautiful land this Cyprus ! 
Ho ! how they fill us with wine instead of blood ! now they 
open the veins of the Faun yonder, to show how the tide 
within bubbles and sparkles. Come hither, jolly old god ! 
thou ridest on a goat, eh ? — what long silky hair he has! 
He is worth all the coursers of Parthia. But a word with 
thee — this wine of thine is too strong for us mortals. Oh ! 
beautiful ! the boughs are at rest ! the green waves of 
the forest have caught the Zephyr and drowned him! 
Not a breath stirs the leaves — and I view the Dreams 
sleeping with folded wings upon the motionless elm ; and I 
look beyond, and I see a blue stream sparkle in the silent 
noon; a fountain — a fountain springing aloft! Ah! my 
fount, thou wilt not put out the rays of my Grecian sun, 
though thou triest ever so hard with thy nimble and silver 
arms. And now, what form steals yonder through the 
boughs P she glides like a moonbeam P — she has a garland 
of oak-leaves on her head. . In her hand is a vase upturned, 
from which she pours pink and tiny shells, and sparkling 
water. Oh ! look on yon face ! Man never before saw its 
like. See ! we are alone ; only I and she in the wide 
forest. There is no smile upon her lips — she moves, grave 
and sweetly sad. Ha ! fly, it is a nymph ! — it is one of the 
wild Naprae ! * Whoever sees her becomes mad — fly ! see, 
she discovers me ! " 

" Oh ! Glaucus ! Glaucus ! do you not know me ? Rave 
not so wildly, or thou wilt kill me with a word ! " 

A new change seemed now to operate upon the jarring 
and disordered mind of the unfortunate Athenian. He put 
his hands upon Nydia's silken hair ; he smoothed the locks 
— he looked wistfully upon her face, and then, as in the 
broken chain of thought one or two links were yet un- 
severed, it seemed that her countenance brought its associ- 
ations of lone ; and with that remembrance his madness 
became yet more powerful, and it was swayed and tinged 
by passion, as he burst forth, — 

" I swear by Venus, by Diana, and by Juno, that though 
I have now the world on my shoulders, as my countryman 
Hercules (ah, dull Rome ! whoever was truly great was of 
Greece ; why, you would be godless if it were not for us !) 
— I say, as my countryman Hercules had before me, I 

* Presiding orer hills and woods. 



280 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

would let it fall into chaos for one smile from lone. Ah, 
Beautiful, — Adored," he added, in a voice inexpressibly 
fond and plaintive, "thou lovest me not. Thou art un- 
kind to me. The Egyptian hath belied me to thee — thou 
knowest not what hours I have spent beneath thy- case- 
ment — thou knowest not how I have out watched the 
stars, thinking thou, my sun, wouldst rise at last, — 
and thou lovest me not, thou forsakest me! Oh! do 
not leave me now ! I feel that my life will not be long ; 
let me gaze on thee at least unto the last. I am of the 
bright land of thy fathers — I have trod the heights of 
Phyle — I liave gathered the hyacinth and rose amidst the 
olive-groves of Ilyssus. Thou shouldst not desert me, for 
thy fathers were brothers to my own. And they say this 
land is lovely, and these climes serene, but I will bear thee 
with me — Ho ! dark form, why risest thou like a cloud 
between me and mine ? Death sits calmly dread upon thy 
brow — on thy lip is the smile that slays: thy name is 
Orcus, but on earth men call thee Arbaces. See, I know 
thee ! fly, dim shadow, thy spells avail not ! " 

" Grlaucus ! Glaucus ! " murmured Nydia, releasing her 
hold and falling, beneath the excitement of her dismay, 
remorse, and anguish, insensible on the floor. 

" Who calls ? " said he, in a loud voice. " lone, it is 
she ! they have borne her off — we will save her — where is 
my stilus ? Ha, I have it ! I come, Tone, to thy rescue ! I 
come ! I come ! " 

So saying, the Athenian with one bonnd passed the 
portico, he traversed the house, and rushed with swift but 
vacillating steps, and muttering audibly to himself, down 
the starlit streets. The direful potion burnt like fire in his 
veins, for its effect was made, perhaps, still more sudden 
from the wine he had drunk previously. Used to the ex- 
cesses of nocturnal revellers, the citizens, with smiles and 
winks, gave way to his reeling steps ; they naturally 
imagined him under the influence of the Bromian god, not 
vainly worshipped at Pompeii ; but they who looked twice 
upon his face started in a nameless fear, and the smile 
withered from their lips. He passed the more populous 
streets ; and, pursuing mechanically the way to Ione's 
house, he traversed a more deserted quarter, and entered 
now the lonely grove of Cybele, in which Apaccides had 
held his intei view with Olinthus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 281 



CHAPTER VI. 

4 REUNION OP DIFFERENT ACTORS. — STREAMS THAT FLOWED 
APPARENTLY APART RUSH INTO ONE GULF. 

Impatient to learn whether the fell drug had yet been 
administered by Julia to his hated rival, and with what 
effect, Arbaces resolved, as the evening came on, to seek 
her house, and satisfy his suspense. It was customary, as 
I have before said, for men at that time to cany abroad 
with them the tablets and the stilus attached to their 
girdle; and with the girdle they were put off when at 
home. In fact, under the appearance of a literary instru- 
ment, the Romans carried about with them in that same 
stilus a very sharp and formidable weapon. It was with 
his stilus* that Cassins stabbed Coesar in the senate-house. 
Taking, then, his girdle and his cloak, Arbaces left his 
house, supporting his steps, which were still somewhat 
feeble (though hope and vengeance had conspired greatly 
with his own medical science, which was profound, to re- 
store his natural strength), by his long staff : Arbaces took 
his way to the villa of Diomed. 

And beautiful is the moonlight of the south ! In those 
climes the night so quickly glides into the day, that twi- 
light scarcely makes a bridge between them. One moment 
of darker purple in the sky — of a thousand rose-hues in 
the water — of shade half victorious over light; and then 
burst forth at once the countless stars — the moon is up — 
night has resumed her reign ! 

Brightly then, and softly bright, fell the moonbeams over 
the antique grove consecrated to Cybele — the stately trees, 
whose date went beyond tradition, cast their long shadows 
over the soil, while through the openings in their boughs 
the stars shone, still and frequent. The whiteness of the 
small sacellum in the centre of the grove, amidst the dark 
foliage, had in it something abrupt and startling ; it re- 
called at once the purpose to which the wood was conse- 
crated, — its holiness aud solemnity. 

With a swift and stealthy pace, Calenus, gliding under 
the shade of the trees, reached the chapel, and gently put- 

* From the stilus may be derived the stiletto of the Italians, 



282 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

ting back the boughs that completely closed around its 
rear, settled himself in his concealment ; a concealment so 
complete, what with the fane in front and the trees behind, 
that no unsuspicious passenger could possibly have detected 
him. Again, all was apparently solitary in the grove : afar 
off you heard faintly the voices of some noisy revellers, or 
the music that played cheerily to the groups that then, as 
now in those climates, during the nights of summer, lin- 
gered in the streets, and enjoyed, in the fresh air and the 
liquid moonlight, a milder day. 

From the height on which the grove was placed, you 
saw through the intervals of the trees the broad and purple 
sea, rippling in the distance, the white villas of StabiaB in 
the curving shore, and the dim Lectiarian hills mingling 
with the delicious sky. Presently the tall figure of 
Arbaces, in his way to the house of Diomed, entered the 
extreme end of the grove; and at the same instant 
Aprocides, also bound to his appointment with Olinthus, 
crossed the Egyptian's path. 

" Hem ! Apoecides," said Arbaces, recognising the priest 
at a glance ; " when last we met, you were my foe. I have 
wished since then to see you, for I would have you still my 
pupil and my friend." 

Apsecides started at the voice of the Egyptian : and 
halting abruptly, gazed upon him with a countenance full 
of contending, bitter, and scornful emotions. 

" Villain and impostor ! " said he at length ; " thou 
hast recovered then from the jaws of the grave ! But 
think not again to weave around me thy guilty meshes. — 
Retiarius, I am armed against thee ! " 

" Hush ! " said Arbaces, in a very low voice — but his 
pride, which in that descendant of kings was great, be- 
trayed the wound it received from the insulting epithets of 
the priest in the quiver of his lip and the flush of his 
tawny brow. " Hush ! more low ! thou mayest be over- 
heard, and if other ears than mine had drunk those sounds 
—why " 

" Dost thou threaten ? — what if the whole city had heard 
me?" 

" The manes of my ancestors would not have suffered mo 
to forgive thee. But, hold, and hear me. Thou art 
enraged that I would have offered violence to thy sister. — 
Nay, peace, peace, but one instant, I pray thee. Thou art 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 288 

right; it was the frenzy of passion and of jealousy — I 
have repented bitterly of my madness. Forgive me; I, 
who never implored pardon of living man, beseech thee now 
to forgive me. Nay, I will atone the insnlt — I ask thy 
sister in marriage; 1 — start not, — consider, — what is the 
alliance of yon holiday Greek compared to mine ? Wealth 
unbounded — birth that in its far antiquity leaves your Greek 
and Roman names the things of yesterday — science — but 
that thou knowest ! Give me thy sister, and my whole life 
shall atone a moment's error." 

" Egyptian, were even I to consent, my sister loathes the 
very air thou breathest : but I have my own wrongs to 
forgive — I may pardon thee that thou hast made me a tool 
to thy deceits, but never that thou hast seduced me to 
become the abettor of thy vices — a — polluted and a perjured 
man. Tremble ! — even now I prepare the hour in which 
thou and thy false gods shall be unveiled. Thy lewd 
and Circean life shall be dragged to day, — thy mumming 
oracles disclosed — the fane of the idol Isis shall be a by- 
word and a scorn — the name of Arbaces a mark for the 
hisses of execration ! Tremble ! " 

The flush on the Egyptian's brow was succeeded by a 
livid paleness. He looked behind, before, around, to feel 
assured that none were by ; and then he fixed his dark and 
dilating eye on the priest, with such a gaze of wrath and 
menace, that one, perhaps, less supported than Apeecides 
by the fervent daring of a divine zeal, could not have faced 
with unflinching look that lowering aspect. As it was, 
however, the young convert met it unmoved, and returned 
it with an eye of proud defiance. 

"Apsecides," said the Egyptian, in a tremulous and 
inward tone, " beware ! What is it thou wouldst medi- 
tate ? Speakest thou — reflect, pause before thou repliest — 
from the hasty influences of wrath, as yet divining no settled 
purpose, or from some fixed design ?" 

" I speak from the inspiration of the True God, whose 
servant I now am," answered the Christian, boldly ; " and 
in the knowledge that by His grace human courage has 
already fixed the date of thy hyprocisy and thy demon's 
worship ; ere thrice the sun has dawned, thou wilt know all ! 
Dark sorcerer, tremble, and farewell ! " 

All the fierce and lurid passions which he inherited from 
his nation and his clime, at all times but ill concealed 



284 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

lencath the blandncss of craft and the coldness of philosophy, 
were released in the breast of the Egyptian. Rapidly one 
thought chased another ; he saw before him an obstinate 
barrier to even a lawful alliance with lone — the fellow- 
champion of Glaucns in the struggle which had baffled his 
designs — the reviler of his name — the threatened desecrator 
of the goddc ;s he served while he disbelieved — the avowed 
and approaching revealer of his own impostures and vices. 
His love, his repute, nay, his very life, might be in danger 
— the day and hour seemed even to have been fixed for 
some design against him. He knew by the words of the 
convert thab Apascides had adopted the Christian faith : he 
'knew the indomitable zeal which led on the proselytes of 
that creed. Such was his enemy ; he grasped his stilus, — 
that enemy was in his power! They were now before 
the chapel ; one hasty glance once more he cast around ; 
he saw none nea**, — silence and solitude alike tempted 
him. 

" Die, then, in thy rashnes3 ! " he muttered ; " away, 
obstacle to my rushing fates ! " 

And just as the young Christian had turned to depart, 
Arbaces raised his hand high over the left shoulder of 
Apsecides, and plunged his sharp weapon twice into his 
breast. 

Apajcides fell to the ground pierced to the heart, — he 
fell mute, without even a groan, at the very base of the 
sacred chapel. 

Arbaces gazed upon him for a moment with the fierce 
animal joy of conquest over a foe. But presently the fall 
sense of the danger to which he was exposed flashed upon 
him ; he wiped his weapon carefully in the long grass, and 
with the very garments of his victim; drew his cloak 
round him, and was about to depart, when he saw, coming 
up the patb, right before him, the figure of a young man, 
whose steps reeled and vacillated strangely as he advanced : 
the quiet moonlight streamed full upon his face, which 
seemed, by the whitening ray, colourless as marble. The 
Egyptian recognised the face and form of Glaucns. The 
unfortunate and benighted Greek was chanting a dis- 
connected and mad song, composed from snatches of hymns 
and sacred odes, all jarringly woven together. 

"Ha! " thought the Egyptian, instantaneously divining 
his state and its terrible cause ; " so, then, the hell-draught 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 2S5 

works, and destiny hath sent thee hither to crush two of my 
foes at once ! " 

Quickly, even ere this thought occurred to him, he had 
withdrawn on one side of the chapel, and concealed himself 
amongst the boughs ; from that lurking place he watched, 
as a tiger in his lair, the advance of his second victim. He 
noted the wandering and restless fire in the bright and 
beautiful eyes of the Athenian ; the convulsions that dis- 
torted his statue-like features, and writhed his hueless lip. 
He saw that the Greek was utterly deprived of reason. 
Nevertheless, as Glaucus came up to the dead body of 
Apsecides, from which the dark red stream flowed slowly 
over the grass, so strange and ghastly a spectacle could not 
fail to arrest him, benighted and erring as was his glim- 
mering sense. He paused, placed his hand to his brow, as 
if to collect himself, and then saying, — 

" What ho ! Endymion, sleepest thou so soundly ? What 
has the moon said to thee ? Thou makest me jealous ; it is 
time to wake," — he stooped down with the intention of 
lifting up the body. 

Forgetting — feeling not — his own debility, the Egyptian 
sprung from his hiding-place, and, as the Greek bent, 
struck him forcibly to the ground, over the very body of 
the Christian; then, raising his powerful voice to its 
loudest pitch, he shouted, — 

" Ho, citizens, — oh ! help me ! — run hither — hither ! — A 
murder — a murder before your very fane! Help, or the 
murderer escapes ! " As he spoke, he placed his foot 
on the breast of Glaucus : an idle and superfluous 
precaution; for the potion operating with the fall, the 
Greek lay there motionless and insensible, save that now 
and then his lips gave vent to some vague and raving 
sounds. 

As he there stood awaiting the coming of those his voice 
still continued to summon, perhaps some remorse, some 
compunctious visitings — for despite his crimes he was 
human, — haunted the breast of the Egyptian ; the defence- 
less state of Glaucus — his wandering words — his shattered 
reason, smote him even more than the death of Apcecides, 
and he said, half audibly, to himself, — 

" Poor clay ! — poor human reason ! where is the soul 
now ? I could spare thee, O my rival — rival never more ! 
But destiny must be obeyed— my safety demands thy 



286 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

sacrifice." With that, as if to drown compunction, he 
shouted yet more loudly ; and drawing from the girdle of 
Glaucus the stilus it contained, he steeped it in the blood 
of the murdered man, and laid it beside the corpse. 

And now, fast and breathless, several of the citizens 
came thronging to the place, some with torches, which the 
moon rendered unnecessary, but which flared red and tre- 
mulously against the darkness of the trees: they sur- 
rounded the spot. 

" Lift up yon corpse," said the Egyptian, " and guard 
well the murderer." 

They raised the body, and great was their horror and 
sacred indignation to discover in that lifeless clay a priest 
of the adored and venerable Isis; but still greater, 
perhaps, was their surprise, when they found the accused 
in the brilliant and admired Athenian. 

" Glaucus ! " cried the bystanders, with one accord ; " is 
it even credible ? " 

" I would sooner," whispered one man to his neighbour, 
"believe it to be the Egyptian himself." 

Here a centurion thrust himself into the gathering 
crowd, with an air of authority. 

" How ! blood spilt ! who the murderer ? " 

The bystanders pointed to Glaucus. 

" He ! — by Mars, he has rather the air of being the 
victim ! Who accuses him ? " 

" J," said Arbaces, drawing himself up haughtily ; and 
the jewels which adorned his dress flashing in the eyes of 
the soldier, instantly convinced that worthy warrior of the 
witness's respectability. 

" Pardon me — your name ? " said he. 

" Arbaces ; it is well known methinks in Pompeii. Pass- 
ing through the grove, I beheld before me the Greek and 
the priest in earnest conversation. I was struck by the 
reeling motions of the first, his violent gestures, and the 
loudness of his voice; he seemed to me either drunk or 
mad. Suddenly I saw him raise his stilus — I darted for- 
ward — too late to arrest the blow. He had twice stabbed 
his victim, and was bending over him, when, in my horror 
and indignation, I struck the murderer to the ground. He 
fell without a struggle, which makes me yet more suspect 
that he was not altogether in his senses when the crime 
was perpetrated ; for, recently recovered from a severe ill- 



THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEII. 287 

ness, my blow was comparatively feeble, and the frame of 
Grlaucus, as you see, is strong and youthful. 

" His eyes are open now — his lips move," said the 
soldier. u Speak, prisoner, what sayest thou to the 
charge ? " 

" The charge — ha. — ha ! Why, it was merrily done ; 
when the old hag set her serpent at me, and % Hecate stood 
by laughing from ear to ear — what could I do ? But I am 
ill — I faint— the serpent's fiery tongue hath bitten me. 
Bear me to bed, and send for your physician ; old ^Escu- 
lapius himself will attend me if you let him know that I 
am Greek. Oh, mercy — mercy — I burn ! — marrow and 
brain, I burn ! " 

And, with a thrilling and fierce groan, the Athenian fell 
back in the arms of the bystanders. 

" He raves," said the officer, compassionately ; " and in 
his delirium he has struck the priest. Hath any one 
present seen him to-day ? " 

"I," said one of the spectators, "beheld him in the 
morning. He passed my shop and accosted me. He seemed 
well and sane as the stoutest of us." 

And I saw him half an hour ago," said another, 

passing up the streets, muttering to himself with strange 
gestures, and just as the Egyptian has described." 

" A corroboration of the witness ! it must be too true. 
He must at all events to the prsetor; a pity, so young 
and so rich ? But the crime is dreadful : a priest of Isis, 
in his very robes, too, and at the base itself of our most 
ancient chapel ! " 

At these words the crowd were reminded more forcibly, 
than in their excitement and curiosity they had yet been, 
of the heinousne8S of the sacrilege. They shuddered in 
pious horror. 

"No wonder the earth has quaked," said one, "when it 
held such a monster ! " 

" Away with him to prison — away ! " cried they all. 

And one solitary voice was heard shrilly and joyously 
above the rest : — 

" The beasts will not want a gladiator now, 

1 Ho, ho I for the merry, merry show ! ' " 

It was the voice of the young woman whosd conversa- 
iton with Medon has been repeated. 






fc 



288 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" True — true — it chances in season for the games ! " 
cried several ; and at that thought all pity for the accused 
seemed vanished. His youth, his beauty, but fitted him 
better for the purpose of the arena. 

" Bring hither some planks — or if at hand, a litter — to 
bear the dead," said Arbaces: "a priest of Isis ought 
scarcely to be carried to his temple by vulgar hands, like a 
butchered gladiator." 

At this the bystanders reverently laid the corpse of 
Apsecides on the ground, with the face upwards ; and some 
of them went in search of some contrivance to bear the 
body, untouched by the profane. 

It was just at that time that the crowd gave way to right 
and left as a sturdy form forced itself through, and Olin- 
thus the Christian stood immediately confronting the 
Egyptian. But his eyes, at first, only rested with inex- 
pressible grief and horror on that gory side and upturned 
face, on which the agony of violent death yet lingered. 

" Murdered ! " he said. " Is it thy zeal that has brought 
thee to this ? Have they detected thy noble purpose, and 
by death prevented their own shame ? " 

He turned his head abruptly, and his eyes fell full on the 
solemn features of the Egyptian. 

As he looked, you might see in his face, and even the 
slight shiver of his frame, the repugnance and aversion 
which the Christian felt for one whom he knew to be so 
dangerous and so criminal. It was indeed the gaze of the 
bird upon the basilisk — so silent was it and so prolonged. 
But shaking off the sudden chill that had crept over him, 
Olinthus extended his right arm towards Arbaces, and said, 
in a deep and loud voice :< — 

" Murder hath been done upon this corpse ! Where is 
the murderer ? Stand forth, Egyptian ! For, as the Lord 
liveth, I believe thou art the man ! " 

An anxious and perturbed change might for one moment 
be detected on the dusky features of Arbaces ; but it gave 
way to the frowning expression of indignation and scorn, 
as, awed and arrested by the suddenness and vehemence of 
the charge, the spectators pressed nearer and nearer upon 
the two more prominent actors. 

" I know," said Ai^baccs, proudly, " who is my accuser, 
and I guess wherefore he thus arraigns me. Men and 
citizens, know this man for the most bitter of the Naza* 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 289 

renes, if that or Christians be their proper name ! What 
marvel that in his malignity he dares accnse even an 
Egyptian of the murder of a priest of Egypt ! " 

" I know him ! I know the dog ! " shouted several 
voices. "It is Olinthus the Christian — or rather the 
Atheist ; — he denies the gods ! " 

"Peace, brethren," said Olinthus, with dignity, "and 
hear me ! This murdered priest of Isis before his death 
embraced the Christian faith — he revealed to me the dark 
sins, the sorceries of yon Egyptian — the mummeries and 
delusions of the fane of Isis. He was about to declare 
them publicly. He, a stranger, unoffending, without 
enemies ! who should shed his blood but one of those who 
feared his witness ? Who might fear that testimony the 
most ? — Arbaces, the Egyptian ! " 

" You hear him ! " said Arbaces ; " you hear him ! he 
blasphemes ! Ask him if he believes in Isis ? " 

" Do I believe in an evil demon ? " returned Olinthus, 
boldly. 

A groan and shudder passed through the assembly. 
Nothing daunted, for prepared at every time for peril, and 
in the present excitement losing all prudence, the Christian 
continued — 

"Back, idolaters! this clay is not for your vain and 
polluting rites — it is to us — to the followers of Christ, that 
the last offices due to a Christian belong. I claim this 
dust in the name of the great Creator who has recalled the 
spirit ! " 

With so solemn and commanding a voice and aspect the 
Christian spoke these words, that even the crowd forbore 
to utter aloud the execration of fear and hatred which in 
their hearts they conceived. And never, perhaps, since 
Lucifer and the Archangel contended for the body of the 
mighty Lawgiver, was there a more striking subject for the 
painter's genius than that scene exhibited. The dark trees 
— the stately fane — the moon full on the corpse of the 
deceased — the torches tossing wildly to and fro in -the rear 
— the various faces of the motley audience — the insensible 
form of the Athenian, supported, in the distance ; and in 
the foreground, and above all, the forms of Arbaces and 
the Christian : the first drawn to its full height, far taller 
than the herd around ; his arms folded, his brow knit, his 
eyes fixed, his lip slightly curled in defiance and disdain. 



k 



290 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

The last bearing, on a brow worn and furrowed, the 
majesty of an equal command — the features stern, yet 
frank — the aspect bold, yet open — the quiet dignity of the 
whole form impressed with an ineffable earnestness, hushed, 
as it were, in a solemn sympathy with the awe he himself 
had created. His left hand pointing to the corpse — his 
right hand raised to heaven. 

The centurion pressed forward again. 

" In the first place, hast thou, Olinthus, or whatever be 
thy name, any proof of the charge thou hast made against 
Arbaces, beyond thy vague suspicions ? " 

Olinthus remained silent — the Egyptian laughed con- 
iemptuously. 

" Dost thou claim the body of a priest of Isis as one of 
the Nazarene or Christian sect ? " 

"I do." 
. " Swear then by yon fane, yon statue of Cybele, by yon 
most ancient saceUum in Pompeii, that the dead man 
embraced your faith ! " 

" Vain man ! I disown your idols ! I abhor your temples ! 
How can I swear by Oybele then ? " 

" Away, away with the Atheist ! away ! the earth will 
swallow us, if we suffer these blasphemers in a sacred 
grove — away with him to death ! " 

" To the beasts I " added a female voice in the centre of 
the crowd ; " we shall have one a~piece now for the lion and 
tiger ! " 

" If, Nazarene, thou disbelievest in Cybele, which of 
our gods dost thou own ? " resumed the soldier, unmoved 
by the cries around. 

"None!" 

" Hark to him ! hark ! " cried the crowd. 

" vain and blind ! " continued the Christian, raising 
his voice : " can you believe in images of wood and stone? 
Do you imagine that they have eyes to see, or ears to hear, 
or hands to help ye P Is yon mute thing carved by man's 
art a goddess ! — nath it made mankind ? — alas ! by man- 
kind was it made. Lo ! convince yourselves of its nothing- 
ness — of your folly." 

And as he spoke he strode across to the fane, and ere 
any of the bystanders were aware of his purpose, he, in his 
compassion or his zeal, struck the statue of wood from its 
pedestal 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 291 

" See ! " cried he, " your goddess cannot avenge herself. 
Is this a thing to worship ? " 

Farther words were denied to him : so gross and daring 
a sacrilege — of one, too, of the most sacred of their places 
of worship — filled even the most lukewarm with rage and 
horror. With one accord the crowd rushed upon him, 
seized, and but for the interference of the centurion, they 
would have torn him to pieces. 

" Peace ! " said the soldier, authoritatively, — " refer we 
this insolent blasphemer to the proper tribunal — time has 
been already wasted. Bear we both the culprits to the 
magistrates ; place the body of the priest on the litter — 
carry it to his own home." 

At this moment a priest of Isis stepped forward. " I 
claim these remains, according to the custom of the priest- 
hood." 

" The flamen be obeyed," said the centurion. " How is 
the murderer ? " 

" Insensible or asleep." 

" Were his crimes less, I could pity him. On ! " 

Arbaces, as he turned, met the eye of that priest of Isis 
— it was Calenus ; and something there was in that glance, 
so significant and sinister, that the Egyptian muttered to 
himself— 

" Could he have witnessed the deed ? " 

A girl darted from the crowd, and gazed hard on the 
face of Olinthus. "By Jupiter, a stout knave/ I say, 
we shall have a man for the tiger now ; one for each 
least ! " 

" Ho ! " shouted the mob ; "a man for the lion, and 
another for the tiger ! What luck ? Io P»an ! " 



CHAPTER V. 



IN WHICH THE READER LEARNS THE CONDITION OF GLAUCUS.— - 
FRIENDSHIP TESTED. — ENMITY SOFTENED. — LOVE THE SAME; 
— BECAUSE THE ONE LOVING IS BLIND. 

The night was somewhat advanced, and the gay -loung- 
ing-places of the Pompeians were still crowded. You might 
observe in the countenances of the various idlers a more 

v 2 



k 



292 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

earnest expression than usual. They talked in large knots 
and groups, as if they sought by numbers to divide the 
half-painful, half-pleasurable anxiety which belonged to the 
subject on which they conversed : it was a subject of life 
and death. 

A young man passed briskly by the graceful portico of 
the Temple of Fortune — so briskly, indeed, that he came 
with no slight force full against the rotund and comely 
form of that respectable citizen Diomed, who was retiring 
homeward to his suburban villa. 

" Holloa ! " groaned the merchant, recovering with some 
difficulty his equilibrium ; " have you no eyes ? or do you 
think I have no feeling ? By Jupiter ! you have well nigh 
driven out the divine particle ; such another shock, and my 
soul will bo in Hades ! " 

"Ah, Diomed! is it you? forgive my inadvertence. I 
was absorbed in thinking of the reverses of life. Our poor 
friend, Glaucus, eh ! who could have guessed it ? " 

" Well, but tell mo, Clodius, is ho really to be tried by 
the senate ? " 

" Yes ; they say tho crime is of so extraordinary a nature, 
that the senate itself must adjudge it ; and so the lictors 
are to induct him * formally." 

" He has been accused publicly, then ? " 

" To bo sure ; where have you been not to hear that ? " 

" Why, I have only just returned from Neapolis, whither 
I went on business tho very morning after his crime ;— 
so shocking, and at my house the same night that it 
happened ! " 

" There is no doubt of his guilt," said Clodius, shrugging 
his shoulders ; " and as these crimes take precedence of all 
little undignified peccadilloes, they will hasten to finish the 
sentence previous to the games." 

" Tho games ! Good gods ! " replied Diomed, with a 
slight shudder ; " can they adjudge lum to the beasts ? — 
so young, so rich ! " 

" True ; but then ho is a Groek. Had he been a Roman, 
it would have been a thousand pities. These foreigners 
fcan be borne with in their prosperity ; but in adversity we 
must not forget that they are in reality slaves. However, 
we of tho upper classes are always tender-hearted ; and he 

• PliiL Ep. ii. 11, 12 ; v. 4, 13. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 293 

V 

would certainly get off tolerably well if he were left to us : 
for, between ourselves, what is a paltry priest of Isis ! — 
what Isis herself? But the common people are super- 
stitious ; they clamour for the blood of the sacrilegious 
one. It is dangerous not to give way to public opinion." 

"And the blasphemer — the Christian, or Nazarene, or 
whatever else he be called ? " 

" Oh, poor dog ! if he will sacrifice to Cybele, or Isis, he 
will be pardoned — if not, the tiger has him. At least, so I 
suppose ; but the trial will decide. We talk while the 
urn's still empty. And the Greek may yet escape the 
deadly 8 * of his own alphabet. But enough of this 
gloomy subject. How is the fair Julia ? " 

"Well, I fancy." 

" Commend me to her. But hark ! the door yonder 
creaks on its hinges ; it is the house of the praetor. Who 
comes forth ? By Pollux ! it is the Egyptian ! What can 
he want with our official friend ! " 

" Some conference touching the murder, doubtless," 
replied Diomed ; " but what was supposed to be the induce- 
ment to the crime? Glaucus was to have married the 
priest's sister." 

" Yes : some say Apaecides refused the alliance. It 
might have been a sudden quarrel. Glaucus was evidently 
drunk ; — nay, so much so as to have been quite insensible 
when taken up, and I hear is still delirious — whether with 
wine, terror, remorse, the Furies, or the Bacchanals, I 
cannot say." 

" Poor fellow! — he has good counsel? " 

" The best — Caius Pollio, an eloquent fellow enough. 
Pollio has been hiring all the poor gentlemen and well-born 
spendthrifts of Pompeii to dress shabbily and sneak about, 
swearing their friendship to Glaucus (who would not have 
spoken to them to be made emperor ! — I will do him 
justice, he was a gentleman in his choice of acquaintance), 
and trying to melt the stony citizens into pity. But it 
will not do ; Isis is mightily popular just at this moment." 

"And, by-the-by, I have some merchandise at Alex- 
andria. Yes, Isis ought to be protected." 

" True ; so farewell, old gentleman : we shall meet soon ; 
if not, we must have a friendly bet at the Amphitheatre. 

* ©, the initial of 0«var* (death), the condemning letter of the Greeks, 
as C was of the Romans. 



k 



294 THE LAST DAYS OF P<ftfPEH. 

All my calculations are confounded by this cursed misfor- 
tune of Glaucus ! He had bet on Lydon the gladiator ; I 
must make up my tablets elsewhere. Vale ! " 

Leaving the less active Diomed to regain his villa, Clodius 
strode on, humming a Greek air, and perfuming the night 
with the odours that steamed from his snowy garments and 
flowing locks. 

"If," thought he, " Glaucus feed the lion, Julia will no 
longer have a person to love better than me ; she will cer- 
tainly doat on me ; — and so, I suppose, I must marry. By 
the gods! the twelve lines begin to fail — men look sus- 
piciously at my hand when it rattles the dice. That 
infernal Sallust insinuates cheating ; and if it be discovered 
that the ivory is cogged, why farewell to the merry supper 
and the perfumed billet; — Clodius is undone! Better 
marry, then, while I may, renounce gaming, and push 
my fortune (or rather the gentle Julia's) at the imperial 
court." 

Thus muttering the schemes of his ambition, if by that 
high name the projects of Clodius may be called, the 
gamester found himself suddenly accosted ; he turned and 
beheld the dark brow of Arbaces. 

" Hail, noble Clodius ! pardon my interruption ; and 
inform me, I pray you, which is the house of Sallust ? " 

" It is but a few yards hence, wise Arbaces. But does 
Sallust entertain to-night ? " 

" I know not," answered the Egyptian ; " nor am I, 
perhaps, one of those whom he would seek as a boon com- 
panion. But thou knowest that his house holds the person 
of Glaucus, the murderer." 

" Ay ! he, good-hearted epicure, believes in the Greek's 
innocence ! You remind me that he has become his surety ; 
and, therefore, till the trial, is responsible for his appear- 
ance.* Well, Sallust's house is better than a prison, 
especially that wretched hole in the forum. But for what 
can you seek Glaucus ? " 

" Why, noble Clodius, if we could save him from execu- 
tion it would be well. The condemnation of the rich is a 
blow upon society itself. I should like to confer with him 
— for I hear ho has recovered his senses — and ascertain the 

• If a criminal could obtain surety (called vades in capital offences), he 
was not compelled to lie in prison till after sentence. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 295 

motives of his crime ; they may be so extenuating as to 
plead in his defence.' ' 

" Yon are benevolent, Arbaces." 

" Benevolence is the duty of one who aspires to wisdom," 
replied the Egyptian, modestly. " Which way lies Sallust's 
mansion ? " 

" I will show you," said Olodius, "if you will suffer me 
to accompany you a few steps. But, pray what has become 
of the poor girl who was to have wed the Athenian — the 
sister of the murdered priest ?" 

" Alas ! well-nigh insane. Sometimes she utters impre- 
cations on the murderer — then suddenly stops short — then 
cries, ' But why curse ? Oh, my brother ! Glaucus was 
not thy murderer — never will I believe it ! ' Then she 
begins again, and again stops short, and mutters awfully 
to herself, ' "Sfct if it were indeed he ? ' " 

" Unfortunate lone ! " 

" But it is well for her that those solemn cares to the 
dead which religion enjoins have hitherto greatly absorbed 
her attention from Glaucus and herself : and, in the dim- 
ness of her senses, she scarcely seems aware that Glaucus 
is apprehended and on the eve of trial. When the funeral 
rites due to Apeecides are performed, her apprehension 
will return ; and then I fear me much that her friends will 
be revolted by seeing her run to succour and aid the mur- 
derer of her brother ! " 

" Such scandal should be prevented." 

" I trust I have taken precautions to that effect. I am 
her lawful guardian, and have just succeeded in obtaining 
permission to escort her, after the funeral of Apeecides, 
to my own house ; there, please the gods ! she will be 
secure." 

" You have done well, sage Arbaces. And, now, yonder 
is the house of Sallust. The gods keep you ! Yet, hark 
you, Arbaces — why so gloomy and unsocial ? Men say 
you can be gay — why not let me initiate you into the 
pleasures of Pompeii? — I flatter myself no one knows 
them better." 

" I thank you, noble Clodius : under your auspices 1 
might venture, I think, to wear the philyra : but, at my 
age, I should be an awkward pupil." 

"Oh, never fear; I have made converts of fellows of 
seventy. The rich, too, are never old." 



w 



296 THE LAST DATS OF fOMPEII. 

" You flatter me. At some future time I will remind you 
of your promise." 

" You may command Marcus Clodius at all times : — and 
so, vale ! " 

"Now," said the Egyptian, soliloquising, "I am not 
wantonly a man of blood ; I would willingly save this 
Greek, if, by confessing the crime, he will lose himself for 
ever to lone, and for ever free me from the chance of dis- 
covery ; and I can save him by persuading Julia to own 
the philtre, which will be held his excuse. But if he do 
not confess the crime, why Julia must be shamed from the 
confession, and he must die ! — die, lest he prove my rival 
with the living — die, that he may be my proxy with the 
dead ! Will he confess ? — can he not be persuaded that in 
his delirium he struck the blow ? To me it would give 
far greater safety than even his death. Hem ! we must 
hazard the experiment." 

Sweeping along the narrow street, Arbaces now ap- 
proached the house of Sallust, when he beheld a dark form 
wrapped in a cloak, and stretched at length across the 
threshold of the door. 

So still lay the figure, and so dim was its outline, that 
any other than Arbaces might have felt a superstitious 
fear, lest he beheld one of those grim lemure8 y who, above 
all other spots, haunted the threshold of the homes they 
formerly possessed. But not for Arbaces were such 
dreams. 

" Rise ! " said he, touching the figure with his foot ; 
" thou obstructest the way ! " 

" Ha ! who art thou ? " cried the form, in a sharp tone ; 
and as she raised herself from the ground, the starlight 
fell full on the pale face and fixed but sightless eyes of 
Nydia the Thessalian. "Who art thou? I know the 
burden of thy voice." 

" Blind girl ! what dost thou here at this late hour ? 
Fie ? — is this seeming thy sex or years ? Home, girl ! " 

" I know thee," said Nydia, in a low voice, " thou art 
Arbaces the Egyptian : " then, as if inspired by some 
sudden impulse, she flung herself at his feet, and clasping 
his knees, exclaimed, in a wild and passionate, tone, " Oh 
dread and potent man ! save him — save him ! He is not 
guilty — it is I ! He lies within, ill — dying, and I — I am 
the hateful cause ! And they will not admit me to him— 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 297 

they spurn the blind girl from the hall. Oh, heal him ! 
thou knowest some herb — some spell — some counter-charm, 
for it is a potion that hath wrought this frenzy ! " 

"Hush, child! I know all! — thou forgettest that I 
accompanied Julia to the saga's home. Doubtless her 
hand administered the draught; but her reputation de- 
mands thy silenco. Reproach not thyself — what must be, 
must : meanwhile, I seek the criminal — he may yet be 
saved. Away ! " 

Thus saying, Arbaces extricated himself from the clasp 
of the despairing Thessalian, and knocked loudly at the 
door. 

In a few moments the heavy bars were heard suddenly 
to yield, and tho porter, half opening tho door, demanded 
who was there. 

"Arbaces — important business to Sallust relative to 
Glaucus. I come from the praetor." 

Tho porter, half yawning, half groaning, admitted the 
tall form of the Egyptian. Nydia sprang forward. " How 
is he ? " she cried ; " tell me — tell me!" 

" Ho, mad girl ! is it thou still ? — for shame ! Why, 
they say he is sensible." 

" The gods be praised ! — and you will not admit me ? 
Ah ! I beseech thee " 

" Admit theo ! — no. A protty saluto I should prepare 
for these shoulders were I to admit such things as thou ! 
Go home ! " 

The door closed, and Nydia, with a deep sigh, laid her- 
Belf down once more on the cold stones ; and, wrapping 
her cloak round her face, resumed her weary vigil. 

Meanwhile Arbaces had already gained the triclinium, 
where Sallust, with his favourite freedman, sat late at 
supper. 

" What ! Arbaces ! and at this hour ! — Accept this cup." 

"Nay, gentle Sallust; it is on business, not pleasure, 
that I venture to disturb thee. How doth thy charge P — 
they say in the town that he has recovered sense." 

" Alas ! and truly," replied tho good-natured but thought- 
less Sallust, wiping tho tear from his eyes ; " but so shat- 
tered are his nerves and frame that I scarcely recognise 
the brilliant and gay carouser I was wont to know. Yet, 
strange to say, he cannot account for the causo of the 
sudden frenzy that seized him — ho retains but a dim con- 



k 



298 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

gciousness of what hath passed ; and, despite thy witness, 
wise Egyptian, solemnly upholds his innocence of the death 
of Apoecides." 

" Sallust," said Arbaces, gravely, " there is much in thy 
friend's case that merits a peculiar indulgence ; and could 
we learn from his lips the confession and the cause of his 
crime, much might bo yet hoped from the mercy of the 
senate; for the senate, thou knowest, hath the power 
either to mitigate or to sharpen the law. Therefore it is 
that I have conferred with the highest authority of the 
city, and obtained his permission to hold a private con- 
ference this night with the Athenian. To-morrow, thou 
knowest, the trial comes on." 

"Well," said Sallust, "thou wilt be worthy of thy 
Eastern name and fame if thou canst learn aught 
from him ; but thou mayst try. Poor Glaucus ! — and 
he had such an excellent appetite ! He eats nothing 
now ! " 

The benevolent epicure was moved sensibly at this 
thought. Ho sighed, and ordered his slaves to refill his 
cup. 

" Night wanes," said the Egyptian ; " suffer me to see 
thy ward now." 

Sallust nodded assent, and led the way to a small cham- 
ber, guarded without by two dozing slaves. The door 
opened ; at the request of Arbaces, Sallust withdrew — the 
Egyptian was alone with Glaucus. 

One of those tall and graceful candelabra common to 
that day, supporting a single lamp, burned beside the nar- 
row bed. Its rays fell palely over the face of the Athenian, 
and Arbaces was moved to see how sensibly that counte- 
nance had changed. The- rich colour was gone, the cheek 
was smile, tlio lips wore convulsed and pallid ; fierce had 
been the struggle between reason and madness, life and 
death. The youth, the strength of Glaucus had conquered; 
but the freshness of blood and soul — the life of life — its 
glory and its zest, were gone for ever. 

Tho Egyptian seated himself quietly beside tho bed; 
Glaucus still lay mute and unconscious of his presence. 
At length, after a considerable pause, Arbaces thus 
spoko : — 

" Glaucus, wo have been enemies. I come to thee alone 
and in tho dead of night — thy friend, perhaps thy saviour." 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 299 

As the steed starts from the path of the tiger, Glaucus 
sprang up breathless — alarmed, panting at the abrupt voice, 
the sudden apparition of his foe. Their eyes met, and 
neither, for some moments, had power to withdraw his 
gaze. The flush went and came over the face of the 
Athenian, and the bronzed cheek of the Egyptian grew a 
shade more pale. At length, with an inward groan, 
Glaucus turned away, drew his hand across his brow, sunk 
back, and muttered — 

" Am I still dreaming ? " 

" No, Glaucus, thou art awake. By this right hand and 
my father's head, thou seest one who may save thy life. 
Hark! I know what thou hast done, but I know also its 
excuse, of which thou thyself art ignorant. Thou hast 
committed murder, it is true — a sacrilegious murder: 
frown not — start not — these eyes saw it. But I can save 
thee — I can prove how thou wert bereaved of sense, and 
made not a free-thinking and free-acting man. But in 
order to save thee, thou must confess thy crime. Sign but 
this paper, acknowledging thy hand in the death of 
Apsecides, and thou shalt avoid the fatal urn." 

"What words are these? — Murder and Apaacides ! — Did 
I not see him stretched on the ground bleeding and a 
corpse? and wouldst thou persuade me that I did the 
deed ? Man, thou liest ! Away ! " 

"Be not rash — Glaucus, be not hasty; the deed is 
proved. Come, come, thou mayst well be excused for not 
recalling the act of thy delirium, and which thy sober 
senses would have shunned even to contemplate. But let 
me try to refresh thy exhausted and weary memory. Thou 
knowest thou wert walking with the priest, disputing about 
his sister; thou knowest he was intolerant, and half a 
Nazarene, and he sought to convert thee, and ye had hot 
words ; and he calumniated thy mode of life, and swore he 
would not marry lone to thee — and then, in thy wrath and 
thy frenzy, thou didst strike the sudden blow. Come, 
come ; you can recollect this ! — read this papyrus, it runs 
to that effect — sign it, and thou art saved." 

" Barbarian, give me the written lie, that I may tear it ! 
I the murderer of Ione's brother ! I confess to have injured 
one hair of the head of him she loved ! Let me rather 
perish a thousand times ! " 

"Beware!" said Arbaces, in a low and hissing tone; 



k 



300 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" there is but one choice — thy confession and thy signature, 
or the amphitheatre and the lion's maw ! " 

As the Egyptian fixed his eyes upon the sufferer, he 
hailed with joy the signs of evident emotion that seized the 
latter at these words. A slight shudder passed over the 
Athenian's frame — his lip fell — an expression of sudden 
fear and wonder betrayed itself in his brow and eye. 

" Great gods ! " he said, in a low voice, " what reverse is 
this ? It seems but a little day since life laughed out from 
"amidst roses — lone mine — youth, health, love, lavishing on 
me their treasures; and now — pain, madness, shame, 
death! And for what? what have I done? Oh, I am 
mad still ? " 

" Sign, and be saved ! " said the soft, sweet voice of the 
Egyptian. 

" Tempter, never ! " cried Glaucus, in the reaction of 
rage. " Thou knowest me not : thou knowest not tho 
haughty soul of an Athenian ! The sudden face of death 
might appal me for a moment, but the fear is over. Dis- 
honour appals for ever ! Who will debase his name to save 
his life? who exchange clear thoughts for sullen days? 
who will belie himself to shame, and stand blackened in 
the eyes of glory and of love ? If to earn a few years of 
polluted life there be so base a coward, dream not, dull 
barbarian of Egypt ! to find him in one who has trod tho 
same sod as Harmodius, and breathed the same air as 
Socrates. Go ! leave me to live without self-reproach — or 
to perish without fear ! " 

" Bethink thee well ! the lion's fangs: the hoots of the 
brutal mob : tho vulgar gaze on thy dying agony and 
mutilated limbs ; thy name degraded ; thy corpse unburied; 
the shame thou wouldst avoid clinging to thee for aye and 
ever ! " 

" Thou ravest ! thou art the madman ! shame is not in 
the loss of other men's esteem, — it is in the loss of our 
own. Wilt thou go ? — my eyes loathe the sight of thee ! 
hating ever, I despise thee now ! " 

" I go," said Arbaces, stung and exasperated, but not 
without some pitying admiration of his victim, — " I go ; 
we meet twice again — once at the Trial, once at the Death ! 
Farewell ! " 

The Egyptian rose slowly, gathered his robes about him, 
and left the chamber. He sought Sallust for a moment, 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 301 

whose eyes began to reel with the vigils of the cup : " He 
is still unconscious, or still obstinate ; there is no hope for 
him." 

" Say not so," replied Sallust, who felt but little resent- 
ment against the Athenian's accuser, for he possessed no 
great austerity of virtue, and was rather moved by his 
friend's reverses than persuaded of his innocence, — "say 
not so, my Egyptian ! so good a drinker shall be saved if 
possible. Bacchus against Isis ! " 

" We shall see," said the Egyptian. 

Suddenly the bolts were again withdrawn — the door un- 
closed ; Arbaces was in the open street ; and poor Nydia 
once more started from her long watch. 

"Wilt thou save him ? " she cried, clasping her hands. 

" Child, follow me home ; I would speak to thee — it is for 
his sake I ask it." 

" And thou wilt save him ? " 

No answer came forth to the thirsting ear of the blind 
girl: Arbaces had already proceeded far up the street; 
she hesitated a moment, and then followed his steps in 
silence. 

" I must secure this girl," said he, musingly, " lest she 
give evidence of the philtre ; as to the vain Julia, she will 
not betray herself," 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A CLASSIC FUNEEAL. 



While Arbaces had been thus employed, Sorrow and 
Death were in the house of lone. It was the night pre- 
ceding the morn in which the solemn funeral rites were to 
be decreed to the remains of the murdered Apsecides. The 
corpse had been removed from the temple of Isis to the 
house of the nearest surviving relative, and lone had 
heard, in the same breath, the death of her brother and the 
accusation against her betrothed. That first violent 
anguish which blunts the sense to all but itself, and the 
forbearing silence of her slaves, had prevented her learning 
minutely the circumstances attendant on the fate of her 
lover. His illness, his frenzy, and his approaching trial, 



802 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPBH. 

■ 

were unknown to her. She learned only the accusation 
against him, and at once indignantly rejected it ; nay, on 
hearing that Arhaces was the accuser, she required no 
more to induce her firmly and solemnly to believe that the 
Egyptian himself was the criminal. But the vast and 
absorbing importance attached by the ancients to the per- 
formance of every ceremonial connected with the death of a 
relation, had, as yet, confined her woe and her convictions 
to the chamber of the deceased. Alas ! it was not for her 
to perform that tender and touching office, which obliged 
the nearest relative to endeavour to catch the last breath — 
the parting soul — of the beloved one : but it was hers to 
close the straining eyes, the distorted lips : to watch by the 
consecrated clay, as, fresh bathed and anointed, it lay in 
festive robes upon the ivory bed ; to strew the couch with 
leaves and flowers, and to renew the solemn cypress-branch 
at the threshold of the door. And in these sad offices, 
in lamentation and in prayer, lone forgot herself. It was 
among the loveliest customs of the ancients to bury the 
young at the morning twilight ; for, as they strove to give 
the softest interpretation to death, so they poetically 
imagined that Aurora, who loved the young, had stolen 
them to her embrace ; and though in the instance of the 
murdered priest this fable could not appropriately cheat the 
fancy, the general custom was still preserved.* 

The stars were fading one by one from the grey heavens, 
and night slowly receding before the approach of morn, 
when a dark group stood motionless before Ione's door. 
High and slender torches, made paler by the unmellowed 
dawn, cast their light over various countenances, hushed 
for the moment in one solemn and intent expression. And 
now there arose a slow and dismal music, which accorded 
sadly with the rite, and floated far along the desolate and 
breathless streets; while a chorus of female voices (the 
Preeficee so often cited by the Roman poets), accompanying 
the Tibicen and the Mysian flute, woke the following 
strain : — 

* This was rather a Greek than a Roman custom ; but the reader will 
observe that in the cities of Magna Graecia the Greek customs and super- 
stitions were much mingled with the Roman. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 808 

THE FUNERAL DIRGE. 

44 O'er the sad threshold, where the cypress bough 

Supplants the rose that should adorn thy home, 
On the last pilgrimage on earth that now 

Awaits thee, wanderer to Cocytus, come ! • 

Darkly we woo, and weeping we invite — 

Death is thy host — his banquet asks thy soul, 
Thy garlands nang within the House of Night, 

And the black stream alone shall fill thy bowL 

No more for thee the laughter and the song, 

The jocund night — the glory of the.day ! 
The Argiye daughters * at their labours long ; 

The hell-bird swooping on its Titan prey— 
The false jEolides f upheaving slow, 

O'er the eternal hill, the eternal stone; 
The crowned Lydian, % in his parching woe, 

And green Callirrhoe's monster-headed son, $— 

These shalt thou see, dim shadow* d through the dark, 

"Which makes the sky of Pluto's dreary shore ; 
Lo ! where thou stancr st, pale-gazing on the bark, 

That waits our rite \ to bear thee trembling o'er ! 
Come, then ! no more delay ! — the phantom pines 

Amidst the Unburied for its latest home ; 
O'er the grey sky the torch impatient shines — 

Come, mourner, forth ! — the lost one bids thee come. 1 



»» 



As the hymn died away, the group parted in twain ; and 
placed upon a conch, spread with a purple pall, the corpse 
of Ap&cides was carried forth, with the feet foremost. The 
designator, or marshal of the sombre ceremonial, accom- 
panied by his torch-bearers, clad in black, gave the signal, 
and the procession moved dreadly on. 

First went the musicians, playing a slow march — the 
solemnity of the lower instruments broken by many a louder 
and wilder burst of the funeral trumpet : next followed the 
hired mourners, chanting their dirges to the dead ; and the 
female voices were mingled with those of boys, whose 
tender years made still more striking the contrast of life 
and death — the fresh leaf and the withered one. But the 
players, the buffoons, the archimimus (whose duty it was 
to personate the dead) — these, the customary attendants at 
ordinary funerals, were banished from a funeral attended 
with so many terrible associations. 

• The Danai'des. t Sisyphus. \ Tantalus. § Geryon. 

| The most idle novel-reader need scarcely be reminded, that not till after 
the funeral rites were the dead carried oyer the Styx. 



804 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

The priests of Isis came next in their snowy garments, 
barefooted, and supporting sheaves of corn ; while before 
tho corpse were carried the images of the deceased and his 
many Athenian forefathers. Ajid behind the bier followed, 
amidst her women, the sole surviving relative of the dead 
— her head bare, her locks dishevelled, her face paler than 
marble, but composed and still, save ever and anon, as 
some tender thought — awakened by the music, flashed 
upon the dark lethargy of woe, she covered that counte- 
nance with her hands, and sobbed unseen : for hers were 
not the noisy sorrow, tho shrill lament, the ungoverned 
gesture, which characterised those who honoured less faith- 
fully. In that age, as in all, the channel of deep grief 
flowed hushed and still. 

And so the procession swept on, till it had traversed the 
streets, passed the city gate, and gained the Place of 
Tombs without the wall, which the traveller yet be- 
holds. 

Raised in the form of an altar — of unpolished pine, 
amidst whose interstices were placed preparations of com- 
bustible matter — stood the funeral pyre; and around it 
drooped the dark and gloomy cypresses so consecrated by 
song to the tomb. 

As soon as the bier was placed upon the pile, the atten- 
dants parting on either side, lone passed up to the couch, 
and stood before the unconscious clay for some moments 
motionless and silent. The features of the dead had been 
composed from the first agonised expression of violent 
death. Hushed for ever the terror and the doubt, the 
contest of passion, the awe of religion, the struggle of the 
past and present, the hope and the horror of the future ! — 
of all that racked and desolated the breast of that young 
aspirant to the Holy of Life, what trace was visible in the 
awful serenity of that impenetrable brow and unbreathing 
lip ? The sister gazed, and not a sound was heard amidst 
the crowd ; there was something terrible, yet softening, 
also, in the silence ; and when it broke, it broke sudden 
and abrupt — it broke with a loud and passionate cry — the 
vent of long-smothered despair. 

"My brother! my brother ! " cried the poor orphan, 
falling upon the couch; "thou whom the worm on thy 
path feared not — what enemy couldst thou provoke ? Oh, 
is it in truth come to this ? Awake ! awake ! We grew 



i 



THE LAST BAYS Otf POMPEII. 305 

together! Are we thus torn asunder? Thou art not 
dead — thou sleepest. Awake ! awake ! " 

The sound of her piercing voice aroused the sympathy 
of the mourners, and they broke into loud and rudo 
lament. This startled, this recalled lone ; she looked up 
hastily and confusedly, as if for the first time sensible of 
the presence of those around. 

" Ah I " she murmured with a shiver, " we are not then 
alone I " 

With that, after a brief pause, she rose : and her pale 
and beautiful countenance was again composed and rigid. 
With fond and trembling hands, she unclosed the lids of 
the deceased ; * but when the dull glazed eye, no longer 
beaming with love and life, met hers, she shrieked aloud, 
as if she had seen a spectre. Once more recovering her- 
self, she kissed again and again the lids, the lips, the brow ; 
and with mechanic and unconscious hand, received from 
the high priest of her brother's temple the funeral torch. 

The sudden burst of music, the sudden song of the 
mourners announced the birth of the sanctifying flame. 

HYMN TO THE WIND. 

i. 

" On thy couch of cloud reclined, 

"Wake, soft and sacred Wind ! 

J Soft and sacred will we name thee, 

Whosoe'er the sire that claim thee,— 

Whether old Auster's dusky child, 

Or the loud son of Eurus wild ; 

Or his f who o'er the darkling deeps, 

From the bleak North, in tempest sweeps 

Still shalt thou seem as dear to us 

As flowery-crowned Zephyrus, 

When, through twilight's starry dew, 

Trembling, he hastes his nymph % to woo. 
i 

II. 

Lo ! our silver censers swinging, 
Perfumes o'er thy path are flinging,— 
Ne'er o'er Tcmpe's breathless valleys, 
Ne'er o'er Cypna's cedarn alleys, 
Or the Rose-isle's § moonlit sea, 
Floated sweets more worthy thee. 
Lo ! around our vases sending 
Myrrh and nard with cassia blending: 
Paving air with odours meet, 
For thy silver-sandall'd feet ! 



• Pliny, ii. 37. t Boreas. % Flora, § Rhoda. 



fc 



806 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII 

hi. 

August and everlasting air 1 

The source of all that breathe and be, 
From the mute clay before thee bear 

The seeds it took from thee ! 
Aspire, bright Flame ! aspire ! 

Wild wind ! — awake, awake ! 
Thine own, solemn Fire ! 

Air, thine own retake ! 

rv. 

It comes ! it comes ! Lo ! it sweeps, 

The Wind we invoke the while ! 
And crackles, and darts, and leaps 

The light on the holy pile ! 
It rises ! its wings interweave 
With the flames, — how they howl and heave 1 

Toes' d, whirl' d to and fro, 

How the flame-serpents glow 1 

Bushing higher and higher. 

On— on, fearful Fire ! 

Thy giant limbs twined 

With the arms of the Wind ! 
Lo! the elements meet on the throne 
Of death— to reclaim their own ! 

v. 

Swing, swing the censer round- 
Tune the strings to a softer sound ! 
From the chains of thy earthly toil, 
From the clasp of thy mortal coil, 
From the prison where clay confined thee, 
The hands of the flame unbind thee ! 
Soul ! thou art free— all free ! 

As the winds in their ceaseless chase, 

When they rush o'er their airy sea, 
Thou mayst speed through the realms of space, • 

No fetter is forged for thee ! 
Rejoice ! o'er the sluggard tide 
Of the Styx thy bark can glide, 
And thy steps evermore shall rove 
Through the glades of the happy grove; 
Where, far from the loath' d Cocytus, 
The loved and the lost invite us. 
Thou art slave to the earth no more ! 

soul, thou art freed ! — and we ?— 
Ah ! when shall our toil be o'er ? 

Ah! when shall we rest with thee?" 

And now nigh and far into the dawning skies broke the 
fragrant fire; it flushed luminously across the gloomy 
cypresses — it shot above the massive walls of the neigh- 
bouring city ; and the early fisherman started to behold 
the blaze reddening on the waves of the creeping sea. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 807 

But lone sat down apart and alone, and, leaning her 
face upon her hands, saw not the flame, nor heard the 
lamentation of the music : she felt only one sense of lone- 
liness, — she had not yet arrived to that hallowing sense of 
comfort, when we know that we are not alone — that the 
dead are with ns ! 

The breeze rapidly aided the effect of the combustibles 
placed within the pile. By degrees the flame wavered, 
lowered, dimmed, and slowly, by fits and unequal starts, 
died away — emblem of life itself ; where, just before, all 
was restlessness and flame, now lay the dull and smoulder- 
ing ashes. 

The last sparks were extinguished by the attendants — 
the embers were collected. Steeped in the rarest wine and 
the costliest odours, the remains were placed in a silver 
urn, which was solemnly stored in one of the neighbouring 
sepulchres beside the road ; and they placed within it the 
vial full of tears, and the small coin which poetry still 
consecrated to the grim boatman. And the sepulchre was 
covered with flowers and chaplets, and incense kindled on 
the altar, and the tomb hung round with many lamps. 

But the next day, when the priest returned with fresh 
offerings to the tomb, he found that to the relics of heathen 
superstition some unknown hands had added a green palm- 
branch. He suffered it to remain, unknowing that it was 
the sepulchral emblem of Christianity. 

When the above ceremonies were over, one of the 
Pwefic® three times sprinkled the mourners from the 
purifying branch of laurel, uttering the last word, " Hicet I " 
— Depart ! — and the rite was done. 

But first they paused to utter — weepingly and many 
times — the affecting farewell, " Salve Eternvm / " And as 
lone yet lingered, they woke the parting strain. 

SALVE ETERNUM. 

i. 

"Farewell! soul departed ! 
Farewell ! sacred urn ! 
Bereaved and broken-hearted, 

To earth the mourners turn I 
To the dim and dreary shore, 
Thou art gone our steps before ! 
But thither the swift Hours lead us, 
And thou dost but a while precede us ! 

Salve — salve ! 

x2 



308 THE LAST DVYS OF POMPEII. 

Loved urn, and thou solemn cell, 
Mute ashes ! — farewell, farewell! 

Salve— salve 1 

n* 

Ilicet — ire licet — 
Ah, rainly would we part! 
Thy tomb is the faithful heart. 
About evermore we bear thee ; 
For who from the heart can tear thee? 
' Vunta we sprinkle o'er us 

t Ae drops of the cleansing stream; 

And vainly bright before us 

The lustra! fire shall beam. 
For where is the charm expelling 
Thy thought from its sacred dwelling? 
Our griefs are thy funeral feast, 
And Memory thy mourning priest, 

Salve— salve ! 

in. 

Ilicet— ire licet ! 
The spark from the hearth is gone 
Wherever the air shall bear it ; 
3 The elements take their own — 

[ The shadows receive thy spirit. 

It will soothe thee to feel our grief. 

As thou glid'st by the Gloomy River I 
' If love may in life be brief, 

In death it is fixed for ever. 

Salve— salve ! 
In the hall which our feasts illume, 
The rose for an hour may bloom ; 
But the cypress that decks the tomb— 
The cypress is green for ever ! 

Salve— salve!" 




CHAPTER IX. 

IN WniCn AN ADVENTURE HAPPENS TO IONS* 

While some stayed behind to share with the priests the 
f uneral banquet, lone and her handmaids took homeward 
their melancholy way. And now (the last duties to her 
brother performed) her mind awoke from its absorption, 
and she thought of her affianced, and the dread charge 
against him. Not — as we have before said — attaching even 
a momentary belief to the unnatural accusation, but nurs- 
ing the darkest suspicion against Arbaces, she felt that 
justice to her lover and to her murdered relative demanded 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. S09 

her to seek the praetor, and communicate her impression, 
unsupported as it might be. Questioning her maidens, who 
had hitherto — kindly anxious, as I have said, to save her 
the additional agony — refrained from informing her of the 
state of Glaucus, she learned that he had been dangerously 
ill ; that he was in custody, under the roof of Sallust ; that 
the day of his trial was appointed. 

"'A verting gods ! " she exclaimed ; " and have I been so 
long forgetful of him ? Have I seemed to shun him ? O ! 
let me hasten to do him justice — to show that I, the nearest 
relative of the dead, believe him innocent of the charge. 
Quick! quick! let us fly. Let me soothe — tend — cheer 
him ! and if they will not believe me ; if they will not lead 
to my conviction ; if they sentence him to exile or to death, 
let me share the sentence with him ! " 

Instinctively she hastened her pace, confused and be- 
wildered, scarce knowing whither she went ; now designing 
first to seek the prator, and now to rush to the chamber of 
Glaucus. She hurried on — she passed the gate of the city 
— she was in the long street leading up the town. The 
houses were opened, but none were yet astir in the streets ; 
the life of the city was scarce awake — when lo ! she came 
suddenly upon a small knot of men standing beside a 
covered litter. A tall figure stepped from the midst of 
them, and lone shrieked aloud to behold Arbaces. 

" Fair lone ! " said he, gently, and appearing not to heed 
her alarm ; " my ward, my pupil ! forgive me if I disturb 
thy pious sorrows ; but the prcetor, solicitous of thy honour, 
and anxious that thou mayest not rashly be implicated in 
the coming trial ; knowing the strange embarrassment of 
thy state (seeking justice for thy brother, but dreading 
punishment to thy betrothed) — sympathising, too, with 
thy unprotected and friendless condition, and deeming it 
harsh that thou shouldst be suffered to act unguided and 
mourn alone — hath wisely and paternally confided thee to 
the care of thy lawful guardian. Behold the writing 
which intrusts thee to my charge ! " 

" Dark Egyptian ! " cried lone, drawing herself proudly 
aside ; " begone ! It is thou that hast slain my brother ! 
Is it to thy care, thy hands yet reeking with his blood, 
that they will give the sister ? Ha ! 4 thou turnest pale ! 
thy conscience smites thee ! thou tremblest at the thunderbolt 
of the avenging god ! Pass on, and leave me to my woe ! " 



810 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" Thy sorrows unstring thy reason, lone," said Arbaces, 
attempting in vain his usual calmness of tone. " I forgive 
thee. Thou wilt find me now, as ever, thy surest friend. 
But the public streets are not the fitting place for us to 
confer — for me to console thee. Approach, slaves ! Come, 
my sweet charge, the litter awaits thee." 

The amazed and terrified attendants gathered round lone, 
and clung to her knees. 

" Arbaces," said the eldest of the maidens, " this is surely 
not the law ! For nine days after the funeral, is it not 
written that the relatives of the deceased shall not be 
molested in their homes, or interrupted in their solitary 
grief?" 

" Woman ! " returned Arbaces, imperiously waving his 
hand, " to place a ward under the roof of her guardian is 
not against the funeral laws. I tell thee I have the fiat of 
the praetor. This delay is indecorous. Place her in the 
litter." 

So saying, he threw his arm firmly round the shrinking 
form of lone. She drew back, gazed earnestly in his face, 
and then burst into hysterical laughter : — 

" Ha, ha ! this is well — well ! Excellent guardian — 
paternal law! Ha, ha!" And, startled herself at the 
dread echo of that shrill and maddened laughter, she sunk, 
as it died away, lifeless upon the ground. ... A minute 
more, and Arbaces had lifted her into the litter. The 
bearers moved swiftly on, and the unfortunate lone was 
soon borne from the sight of her weeping handmaids. 



CHAPTER X. 

WHAT BECOMES OF NYDIA IN THE HOUSE OP ARBACES. — THE 
EGYPTIAN PEELS COMPASSION FOR GLAUCUS. — COMPASSION IS 
OFTEN A VERT USELESS VISITOR TO THE GUILTY. 

It will be remembered that, at the command of Arbaces, 
Nydia followed the Egyptian to his home, and conversing 
there with her, he learned from the confession of her 
despair and remorse, that her hand, and not Julia's, had 
administered to Glaucus the fatal potion. At another 
time the Egyptian might have conceived a philosophical 
interest in sounding the depths and origin of the strange 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 811 

and absorbing passion which, in blindness and in slavery, 
this singular girl had dared to cherish ; but at present he 
spared no thought from himself. As, after her confession, 
the poor Nydia threw herself on her knees before him, and 
besought him to restore the health and save the life of 
Glaucus — f or in her youth and ignorance she imagined the 
dark magician all-powerful to effect both — Arbaces, with 
unheeding ears, was noting only the new expediency of 
detaining Nydia a prisoner until the trial and fate of 
Glaucus were decided. For if, when he judged her merely 
the accomplice of Julia in obtaining the philtre, he had felt 
it was dangerous to the full success of his vengeance to 
allow her to be at large — to appear, perhaps, as a witness 
— to avow the manner in which the sense of Glaucus had 
been darkened, and thus win indulgence to the crime of 
which he was accused — how much more was she likely to 
volunteer her testimony when she herself had administered 
the draught, and, inspired by love, would be only anxious, 
at any expense of shame, to retrieve her error and preserve 
her beloved? Besides, how unworthy of the rank and 
repute of Arbaces to be implicated in the disgrace of 
pandering to the passion of Julia, and assisting in the un- 
holy rites of the Saga of Vesuvius ! Nothing less, indeed, 
than his desire to induce Glaucus to own the murder of 
Apsscides, as a policy evidently the best both for his own 
permanent safety and his successful suit with lone, could 
ever have led him to contemplate the confession of Julia. 

As for Nydia, who was necessarily cut ofE by her blind- 
ness from much of the knowledge of active life, and who, 
a slave and a stranger, was naturally ignorant of the perils 
of the Roman law, she thought rather of the illness and 
delirium of her Athenian, than the crime of which she had 
vaguely heard him accused, or the chances of the impending 
trial. Poor wretch that she was, whom none addressed, 
none cared for, what did she know of the senate and the 
sentence — the hazard of the law — the ferocity of the people 
— the arena and the lion's den ? She was accustomed only 
to associate with the thought of Glaucus everything that 
was prosperous and lofty — she could not imagine that any 
peril, save from the madness of her love, could menace that 
sacred head. He seemed to her set apart for the blessings 
of life. She only had disturbed the current of his felicity ; 
she knew not, she dreamed not, that the stream, once so 



812 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

bright, was dashing on to darkness and to death. It was 
therefore to restore the brain that she had marred, to save 
the life that she had endangered, that she implored the 
assistance of the great Egyptian. 

" Daughter," said Arbaces, waking from his reverie, 
" thou must rest here ; it is not meet for thee to wander 
along the streets, and be spurned from the threshold by the 
rude feet of slaves. I have compassion on thy soft crime 
— I will do all to remedy it. Wait here patiently for some 
days, and Glaucus shall bo restored." So saying, and 
without waiting for her reply, he hastened from the room, 
drew the bolt across the door, and consigned the care and 
wants of his prisoner to the slave who had the charge of 
that part of the mansion. 

Alone, then, and musingly, he waited the morning light, 
and with it repaired, as we have seen, to possess himself of 
the person of lone. 

His primary object, with respect to the unfortunate 
Neapolitan, was that which he had really stated to Clodius, 
viz. to prevent her interesting herself actively in the trial 
of Glaucus, and also to guard against her accusing him 
(which she would, doubtless, have done) of his former act 
of perfidy and violence towards her, his ward — denouncing 
his causes for vengeance against Glaucus — unveiling the 
hypocrisy of his character — and casting any doubt upon his 
veracity in the charge which he had made against the 
Athenian. Not till he had encountered her that morning 
— not till he had heard her loud denunciations — was he 
aware that he had also another danger to apprehend in her 
suspicion of his crime. He hugged himself now in the 
thought that these ends were effected : that one, at once 
the object of his passion and his fear, was in his power. 
He believed more than ever the flattering promises of the 
stars ; and when he sought lone in that chamber in the 
inmost recesses of his mysterious mansion to which he had 
consigned her — when he found her overpowered by blow 
upon blow, and passing from fit to fit, from violence to 
torpor, in all the alternations of hysterical disease — he 
thought more of the loveliness which no frenzy could 
distort than of the woe which ho had brought upon her. 
In that sanguine vanity common to men who through life 
have been invariably successful, whether in fortune or love, 
he flattered himself that when Glaucus had perished — when 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 818 

his name was solemnly blackened by the award of a legal 
judgment, his title to her love for ever forfeited by con- 
demnation to death for the nmrder of her own brother — her 
affection would be changed to horror ; and that his tender- 
ness and his passion, assisted by all the arts with which he 
well knew how to dazzle woman's imagination, might elect 
him to that throne in her heart from which his rival would 
be so awfully expelled. This was his hope : but should it 
fail, his unholy and fervid passion whispered, " At the 
worst, now she is in my power." 

Yet, withal, he felt that uneasiness and apprehension 
which attended upon the chance of detection, even when 
the criminal is insensible to the voice of conscience — that 
vague terror of the consequences of crime, which is often 
mistaken for remorse at the crime itself. The buoyant air 
of Campania weighed heavily upon his breast ; he longed 
to hurry from a scene where danger might not sleep 
eternally with the dead ; and, having lone now in his 
possession, he secretly resolved, as soon as he had witnessed 
the last agony of his rival, to transport his wealth — and 
her, the costliest treasure of all, to some distant shore. 

" Yes," said he, striding to and fro his solitary chamber 
— " yes, the law that gave me the person of my ward gives 
me the possession of my bride. Far across the broad main 
will we sweep on our search after novel luxuries and inex- 
perienced pleasures. Cheered by my stars, supported by 
the omens of my soul, we will penetrate to those vast and 
glorious worlds which my wisdom tells me lie yet un tracked 
in the recesses of the circling sea. There may this heart, 
possessed of love, grow once more alive to ambition — there, 
amongst nations uncrushed by the Roman yoke, and to 
whose ear the name of Rome has not yet been wafted, I may 
found an empire, and transplant my ancestral creed ; renew- 
ing the ashes of the dead Theban rule : continuing in yet 
grander shores the dynasty of my crowned fathers, and 
waking in the noble heart of lone the grateful conscious- 
ness that she shares the lot of one who, far from the aged 
rottenness of this slavish civilisation, restores the primal 
elements of greatness, and unites in one mighty soul the 
attributes of the prophet and the king." 

From this exultant soliloquy, Arbaces was awakened to 
attend the trial of the Athenian. 

The worn and pallid cheek of his victim touched him 



814 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

less than the firmness of his nerves and the danntlessness 
of his brow ; for Arbaces was one who had little pity for 
what was nnf ortunate, but a strong sympathy for what ' 
was bold. The congenialities that bind us to others ever 
assimilate to the qualities of our own nature. The hero 
weeps less at the reverses of his enemy than at the forti- 
tude with which he bears them. All of us are human, and 
Arbaces, criminal as he was, had his share of our common 
feelings and our mother clay. Had he but obtained from 
Glaucus the written confession of his crime, which would, 
better than even the judgment of others, have lost him 
with lone, and removed from Arbaces the chance of future 
detection, the Egyptian would have strained every nerve 
to save his rival. Even now his hatred was over — his 
desire of revenge was slaked : he crushed his prey, not in 
enmity, but as an obstacle in his path. Yet was he not 
the less resolved, the less crafty and persevering, in the 
course he pursued, for the destruction of one whose doom 
was become necessary to the attainment of his objects ; 
and while, with apparent reluctance and compassion, he 
gave against Glaucus the evidence which condemned him, 
he secretly, and through the medium of the priesthood, 
fomented that popular indignation which made an effectual 
obstacle to the pity of the senate. He had sought Julia ; 
he had detailed to her the confession of Nydia ; he had 
easily, therefore, lulled any scruple of conscience which 
might have led her to extenuate the offence of Glaucus by 
avowing her share in his frenzy: and the more readily, for 
her vain heart had loved the fame and the prosperity of 
Glaucus — not Glaucus himself ; she felt no affection for a 
disgraced man — nay, she almost rejoiced in the disgrace 
that humbled the hated lone. If Glaucus could not be 
her slave, neither could he be the adorer of her rival. This 
was sufficient consolation for any regret at his fate. Vola- 
tile and fickle, she began again to be moved by the sudden 
and earnest suit of Clodius, and was not willing to hazard 
the loss of an alliance with that base but high-born noble 
by any public exposure of her past weakness and immodest 
passion for another. Ail things then smiled upon Arbaces 
— all things frowned upon the Athenian. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 815 



CHAPTER XI. 

NYDIA AFFECTS THE SORCERESS. 

When the Thessalian found that Arbaces returned to 
her no more — when she was left, hour after hour, to all 
the torture of that miserable suspense which was rendered 
by blindness doubly intolerable, she began, with out- 
stretched arms, to feel around her prison for some channel 
of escape ; and finding the only entrance secure, she called 
aloud, and with the vehemence of a temper naturally 
violent, and now sharpened by impatient agony. 

" Ho, girl ! " said the slave in attendance, opening the 
door ! " art thou bit by a scorpion ? or thinkest thou that 
we are dying of silence here, and only to be preserved, 
like the infant Jupiter, by a hullabaloo ? " 

" Where is thy master? and wherefore am I caged here? 
I want air and liberty : let me go forth ! " 

"Alas ! little one, hast thou not seen enough of Arbaces 
to know that his will is imperial ? He hath ordered thee 
to be caged ; and caged thou art, and I am thy keeper. 
Thou canst not have air and liberty ; but thou mayst have 
what are much better things — food and wine." 

" Proh Jupiter ! " cried the girl, wringing her hands ! 
and why am I thus imprisoned? What can the great 
Arbaces want with so poor a thing as I am ? " 

" That I know not, unless it be to attend on thy new 
mistress, who has been brought hither this day." 

"What! lone here?" 

" Yes, poor lady; she liked it little, I fear. Tet, by the 
Temple of Castor ! Arbaces is a gallant man to the women. 
Thy lady is his ward, thou knowest." 

" Wilt thou take me to her ? " 

" She is ill — frantic with rage and spite. Besides, I 
have no orders to do so ; and I never think for myself. 
When Arbaces made me slave of these chambers,* he said, 
' I have but one lesson to give thee ; — while thou servest 
me, thou must have neither ears, eyes, nor thought; thou 
must be but one quality — obedience.' " 

* In the houses of the great, each suite of chambers had its peculiar 
slave. 



810 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

" Bat what harm is there in seeing lone ? " 

" That I know not ; but if thou wantest a companion, I 
am willing to talk to thee, little one, for I am solitary 
enough in my dull cubiculum. And, by the way, thou art 
Thessalian — knowest thou not some cunning amusement 
of knife and shears, some pretty trick of telling fortunes, 
as most of thy race do, in order to pass the time ? " 

" Tush, slave, hold thy peace ! or, if thou wilt speak, 
what hast thou heard of the state of Glaucus ? " 

"Why, my master has gone to the Athenian's trial; 
Glaucus will smart for it ! " 

" For what ? " 

" The murder of the priest Apeecides." 

" Ha ! " said Nydia, pressing her hands to her forehead; 
" something of this I have indeed heard, but understand 
not. Tet, who will dare to touch a hair of his head ? " 

" That will the Hon, I fear." 

" Averting gods ! what wickedness dost thou utter ? " 

" Why, only that, if he be found guilty, the lion, or may 
be the tiger, will be his executioner." 

Nydia leaped up, as if an arrow had entered her heart ; 
she uttered a piercing scream ; then, falling before the feet 
of the slave, she cried, in a tone that melted even his rude 
heart, — 

" Ah ! tell me thou jestest — thou utterest not the truth 
— speak, speak ! " 

" Why, by my faith, blind girl, I know nothing of the 
law ; it may not be so bad as I say. But Arbaces is his 
accuser, and the people desire a victim for the arena. 
Cheer thee ! But what hath the fate of the Athenian to 
do with thine ? " 

" No matter, no matter — he has been kind to me : thou 
knowest not, then, what they will do? Arbaces his 
accuser ! O fate ! The people — the people ! Ah ! they 
can look upon his face — who will be cruel to the Athenian! 
— Yet was not Love itself cruel to him ?" 

So saying, her head drooped upon her bosom : she sunk 
into silence ; scalding tears flowed down her cheeks ; and 
all the kindly efforts of the slave were unable either to 
console her or distract the absorption of her reverie. 

When his household cares obliged the ministrant to 
leave her room, Nydia began to re-collect her thoughts. 
Arbaces was the accuser of Glaucus ; Arbaces had impri- 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 317 

soned her here ; was not that a proof that her liberty 
might be serviceable to Glaucus ? Yes, she was evidently 
inveigled into some snare ; she was contributing to the 
destruction of her beloved ? Oh, how she panted for re- 
lease ! Fortunately, for her sufferings, all sense of pain 
became merged in the desire of escape ; and as she began 
to revolve the possibility of deliverance, she grew calm and 
thoughtful. She possessed much of the craft of her sex, 
and it had been increased in her breast by her early servi- 
tude. What slave was ever destitute of cunning ? She 
resolved to practise upon her keeper ; and, calling suddenly 
to mind his superstitious query as to her Thessalian art, 
she hoped by that handle to work out some method of 
release. These doubts occupied her mind during the rest 
of the day and the long hours of night ; and, accordingly, 
when Sosia visited her the following morning, she hast- 
ened to divert his garrulity into that channel in which it 
had before evinced a natural disposition to flow. 

She was aware, however, that her only chance of escape 
was at night; and accordingly she was obliged, with a 
bitter pang at the delay, to defer till then her purposed 
attempt. 

" The night," said she, " is the sole time in which we 
can well decipher the decrees of Fate — then it is thou must 
seek me. But what desirest thou to learn ? " 

" By Pollux ! I should like to know as much as my 
master ; but that is not to be expected. Let me know, at 
least, whether I shall save enough to purchase my freedom, 
or whether this Egyptian will give it me for nothing. He 
does such generous things sometimes. Next, supposing 
that be true, shall I possess myself of that snug taberna 
among the Myropolia,* which I have long had in my eye ? 
'Tis a genteel trade that of a perfumer, and suits a retired 
slave who has something of a gentleman about him ! " 

" Ay ! so you would have precise answers to those ques- 
tions ? — there are various ways of satisfying you. There 
is the Iithomanteia, or Speaking-stone, which answers 
your prayer with an infant's voice ; but, then, we have not 
that precious stone with us — costly is it and rare. Then 
there is the Gastromanteia, whereby the demon casts pale 
and deadly images upon water, prophetic of the future. 
But this art requires also glasses of a peculiar fashion, t 

* The shops of the perfumers. 



818 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

contain the consecrated liquid, which we have not. I think, 
therefore, that the simplest method of satisfying your 
desire would be by the Magic of Air." 

" I trust," said Soisa, tremulously, " that there is nothing 
very frightful in the operation? I have no love for 
apparitions." 

" Fear not ; thou wilt see nothing ; thou wilt only hear 
by the bubbling of water whether or not thy suit prospers. 
First, then, be sure, from the rising of the evening star, 
that thou leavest the garden-gate somewhat open, so that 
the demon may feel himself invited to enter therein ; and 
place fruits and water near the gate as a sign of hospi- 
tality ; then, three hours after twilight, come here with a 
bowl of the coldest and purest water, and thou shalt learn 
all, according to the Thessalian lore my mother taught 
me. But forget not the garden-gate — all rests upon 
that : it must be open when you come, and for three hours 
previously." 

" Trust me," replied the unsuspecting Sosia ; " I know 
what a gentleman s feelings are when a door is shut in his 
face, as the cookshops hath been in mine many a day; 
and I know also, that a person of respectability, as a 
demon of course is, cannot but be pleased, on the other 
hand, with any little mark of courteous hospitality. Mean- 
while, pretty one, here is thy morning's meal." 

" And what of the trial ? " 

" Oh, the lawyers are still at it — talk, talk — it will last 
over till to-morrow." 

" To-morrow ? — you are sure of that ? " 

" So I hear." 

"And lone?" 

" By Bacchus ! she must be tolerably well, for she was 
strong enough to make my master stamp and bite his lip 
this morning. I saw him quit her apartment with a brow 
like a thunder-storm." 

" Lodges she near this ? " 

" No — in the upper apartments. But I must not stay 
prating here longer. — Vale / " 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 819 



CHAPTER XII. 

A WASP VENTURES INTO THE SPIDER'S WEB. 

The second night of the trial had set in ; and it was 
nearly the time in which Sosia was to brave the dread 
Unknown, when there entered, at that very garden-gate 
which the slave had left ajar — not, indeed, one of the 
mysterious spirits of earth or air, but the heavy and most 
human form of Calenus, the priest of Isis. He scarcely 
noted the humble offerings of indifferent fruit, and still 
more indifferent wine, which the pious Sosia had deemed 
good enough for the invisible stranger they were intended 
to allure. " Some tribute," thought he, " to the garden 
god. By my father's head ! if his deityship were never better 
served, he would do well to give up the godly profession. 
Ah ! were it not for us priests, the gods would have a sad 
time of it. And now for Arbaces — -I am treading a quick- 
sand, but it ought to cover a mine. I have the Egyptian's 
life in my powers — what will he value it at ? " 

As he thus soliloquised, he crossed through the open 
court into the peristyle, where a few lamps here and there 
broke upon the empire of the starlit night ; and, issuing 
from one of the chambers that bordered the colonnade, 
suddenly encountered Arbaces. 

" Ho ! Calenus — seekest thou me ? " said the Egyptian ; 
and there was a little embarrassment in his voice. 

" Yes, wise Arbaces — I trust my visit is not unseason- 
able?" 

" Nay — it was but this instant that my freedman Callias 
sneezed thrice at my right hand ; I knew, therefore, some 
good fortune was in store for me — and, lo ! the gods have 
sent me Calenus." 

" Shall we within to your chamber, Arbaces ? " 

"As you will; but the night is clear and balmy — I 
have some remains of languor yet lingering on me from 
my recent illness — the air refreshes me — let us walk in the 
garden — we are equally alone there." 

" With all my heart," answered the priest; and the two 
friends passed slowly to one of the many terraces which, 



320 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

bordered by marble vases and sleeping flowers, intersected 
the garden. 

" It is a lovely night,' ' said Arbaces — "blue and beau- 
tiful as that on which, twenty years ago, the shores of 
Italy first broke upon my view. My Calenus, age creeps 
upon us — let us, at least, feel that we have lived." 

"Thou, at least, mayst arrogate that boast," said 
Calenus, beating about, as it were, for an opportunity to 
communicate the secret which weighed upon him, and 
feeling his usual awe of Arbaces still more impressively 
that night, from the quiet and friendly tone of dignified 
condescension which the Egyptian assumed — " Thou, at 
least, mayst arrogate that boast. Thou hast had countless 
wealth — a frame on whose close-woven fibres disease can 
find no space to enter — prosperous love — inexhaustible 
pleasure — and, even at this hour, triumphant revenge." 

" Thou alludest to the Athenian. Ay, to-morrow's sun 
the fiat of his death will go forth. The senate does not 
relent. But thou mistakest : his death gives me no other 
gratification than that it releases me from a rival in the 
affections of lone. I entertain no other sentiment of ani- 
mosity against that unfortunate homicide." 

" Homicide ! " repeated Calenus, slowly and meaningly ; 
and, halting as he spoke, he fixed his eyes upon Arbaces. 
The stars shone pale and steadily on the proud face of 
their prophet, but they betrayed there no change : the 
eyes of Calenus fell disappointed and abashed. He con- 
tinued rapidly — " Homicide ! it is well to charge him with 
that crime ; but thou, of all men, knowest that he is 
innocent." «• 

" Explain thyself," said Arbaces, coldly ; for he had 
prepared himself for the hint his secret fears had fore- 
told. 

"Arbaces," answered Calenus, sinking his voice into a 
whisper, " I was in the sacred grove, sheltered by the 
chapel and the surrounding foliage. I overheard — I 
marked the whole. I saw thy weapon pierce the heart of 
Apaecides. I blame not the deed — it destroyed a foe and 
an apostate." 

" Thou sawest the whole ! " said Arbaces, drily ; " so I 
imagined — thou wert alone ? " 

" Alone! " returned Calenus, surprised at the Egyptian's 
calmness. 



fttE tAS* t)AYS 6f POMPEII. 32l 

"And wherefore wert thou hid behind the chapel at 
that honr ? " 

" Because I had learned the conversion of Apeecides to 
the Christian faith — because I knew that on that spot he 
was to meet the fierce Olinthus — because they were to 
meet there to discuss plans for unveiling the sacred 
mysteries of our goddess to the people — and I was there to 
detect, in order to defeat them." 

" Hast thou told living ear what thou didst witness ? " 

" No, my master ; the secret is locked in thy servant's 
breast." 

" What ! even thy kinsman Burbo guesses it not ! 
Come, the truth ! " 

" By the gods " 

" Hush ! we know each other — what are the gods to 
us r 

"By the fear of thy vengeance, then, — no ! " 

"And why hast thou hitherto concealed from me this 
secret ? Why hast thou waited till the eve of the Athe- 
nian's condemnation before thou hast ventured to tell me 
that Arbaces is a murderer ? And, having tarried so long, 
why revealest thou now that knowledge ? " 

" Because — because " stammered Calenus, colouring 

and in confusion. 

"Because," interrupted Arbaces, with a gentle smile, 
and tapping the priest on the shoulder with a kindly and 
familiar gesture — " because, my Calenus (see now, I will 
read thy heart, and explain its motives) — because thou 
didst wish thoroughly to commit and entangle me in the 
trial, so that I might have no loophole of escape ; that I 
might stand firmly pledged to perjury and to malice, as 
well as to homicide ; that having myself whetted the ap- 
petite of the populace to blood, no wealth, no power, 
could prevent my becoming their victim ; and thou tellest 
me thy secret now, ere the trial be over and the innocent 
condemned, to show what a desperate web of villany thy 
word to-morrow con Id destroy; to enhance in this, the 
ninth hour, the price of thy forbearance ; to show that my 
own arts, in arousing the popular wrath, would, at thy 
witness, recoil upon myself ; and that, if not for Glau- 
cus, for me would gape the jaws of the lion ! Is it 
not so ? " 

" Arbaces," replied Calenus, losing all the vulgar auda- 



322 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEU. 

city of his natural character, " verily thou art a Magian ; 
thou readest the heart as it were a scroll." 

" It is my vocation," answered the Egyptian, laughing 
gently. " Well, then, forbear ; and when all is over, I 
will make thee rich." 

" Pardon me," said the priest, as the quick suggestion 
of that avarice, which was his master-passion, hade him 
trust no future chance of generosity ; " pardon me ; thou 
saidst right — we know each other. If thou wouldst have 
me silent, thou must pay something in advance, as an 
offer to Harpocrates.* If the rose, sweet emblem of dis- 
cretion, is to take root firmly, water her this night with a 
stream of gold." 

" Witty and poetical ! " answered Arbaces, still in that 
bland voice which lulled and encouraged, when it ought to 
have alarmed and checked, his griping comrade. "Wilt 
thou not wait the morrow ? " 

" Why this delay ? Perhaps, when I can no longer give 
my testimony without shame for not having given it ere the 
innocent man suffered, thou wilt forget my claim ; and, 
indeed, thy present hesitation is a bad omen of thy future 
gratitude." 

" Well, then, Calenus, what wouldst thou have me pay 
thee ? " 

"Thy life is very precious, and thy wealth is very 
great," returned the priest, grinning. 

" Wittier and more witty. But speak out — what shall 
be the sum? " 

" Arbaces, I have heard that in thy secret treasury 
below, beneath those rude Oscan arches which prop thy 
stately halls, thou hast piles of gold, of vases, and of 
jewels, which might rival the receptacles of the wealth of 
the deified Nero. Thou mayst easily spare out of those 
piles enough to make Calenus among the richest priests of 
Pompeii, and yet not miss the loss." 

" Come, Calenus," said Arbaces, winningly, and with a 
frank and generous air, " thou art an old friend, and hast 
been a faithful servant. Thou canst have no wish to take 
away my life, nor I a desire to stint thy reward : thou 
shall descend with me to that treasury thou referrest to, 
thou shalt feast thine eyes with the blaze of uncounted 
gold and the sparkle of priceless gems ; and thou shalt, for 

* The God of Silence. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 328 

thy own reward, bear away with thee this night as much 
as thou canst conceal beneath thy robes. Nay, when thou 
hast once seen what thy friend possesses, thou wilt learn 
how foolish it would be to injure one who has so much 
to bestow. When Glaucus is no more, thou shalt pay 
the treasury another visit. Speak I frankly and as a 
friend ? " 

" Oh, greatest, best of men ! " cried Calenus, almost 
weeping with joy, " canst thou thus forgive my injurious 
doubts of thy justice, thy generosity ? " 

"Hush! one other turn, and we will descend to the 
Oscan arches." 



CHAPTER XIII. 



THE SLAVE CONSULTS THE ORACLE — THEY WHO BLI^D THEM- 
SELVES THE BLIND MAT FOOL — TWO NEW PRISONERS MADE IN 
ONE NIGHT. 

Impatiently Nydia awaited the arrival of the no less 
anxious Sosia. Fortifying his courage by plentiful pota- 
tions of a better liquor than that provided for the 
demon, the credulous ministrant stole into the blind girl's 
chamber. 

"Well, Sosia, and art thou prepared? Hast thou the 
bowl of pure water ? " 

"Verily, yes: but I tremble a little. You are sure I 
shall not see the demon ? I have heard that those gen- 
tlemen are by no means of a handsome person or a civil 
demeanour." 

"Be assured! And hast thou left the garden-gate 
gently open ? " 

" Yes ; and placed some beautiful nuts and apples on a 
little table close by?" 

" That's well. And the gate is open now, so that the 
demon may pass through it ? " 

" Surely it is." 

" Well, then, open this door ; there — leave it just ajar. 
And now, Sosia, give me the lamp." 

" What, you will not extinguish it ? " 

" No ; but I must breathe my spell over its ray. There 
'is a spirit in fire. Seat thyself." 

T2 



824 THE LAST DAYS Of POMPEIT. 

The slave obeyed; and Nydia, after bending for some 
moments silently over the lamp, rose, and in a low voice 
chanted the following rude 

INVOCATION TO THE SPECTRE OF THE AOL 

u Loved alike by Air and Water 

Aye must be Thessalia's daughter ; 

To us, Olympian hearts, are given 

Spells that draw the moon from heaven* 

Ail that Egypt's learning wrought — 

All that Persia's Magian taught— 
Won from song, of wrung from flowers, 
Or whisper* d low by fiend — are ours. 

Spectre of the viewless air ! 
Hear the blind Thessalian's prayer ! 
By Erictho's art, that shed 
Dews of life when life was fled :— 
By lone Ithaca's wise king, 
Who could wake the crystal spring 
To the voice of prophecy ? 
By the lost Eurydice, 
Summon' d from the shadowy throng, 
At the muse-son's magic song — 
By the Colchian's awful charms, 
When fair-haired Jason left her arms ;— 
Spectre of the airy halls, 
One who owns thee duly calls ! 
Breathe along the brimming bowl. 
And instruct the fearful soul 
In the shadowy things that lie 
Dark in dim futurity. 
Come, wild demon of the air, 
Answer to thy votary's prayer! 
Come ! on, come ! 

And no god on heaven or earth- 
Not the PaDhian Queen of Mirth, 
Nor the vivid Lord of Light, 
Nor the triple Maid of Night, 
Nor the Thunderer's self shall be 
Blest and bonour'd more than thee ! 
Come! oh, come! " 

" The spectre is certainly coming," said Sosia. "I feel 
him running along my hair ! " 

" Place thy bowl of water on the ground. Now, then, 
give me thy napkin, and let me fold up thy face and eyes." 

" Ay ! that's always the custom with these charms. Not 
so tight, though : gently — gently ! " 

" There — thou canst not see ? " 

" See, by Jupiter ! No ! nothing but darkness." 

" Address, then, to the spectre whatever question thou 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 325 

wouldst ask him, in a low-whispered voice, three time3. 
If thy question is answered in the affirmative, thon wilt 
hear the water ferment and bubble before the demon 
breathes upon it ; if in the negative, the water will be quite 
silent." 

" But you will not play any trick with the water, eh ? " 

" Let me place the bowl under thy feefc — so. Now thou 
wilt perceive that I cannot touch it without thy know- 
ledge." 

44 Very fair. Now, then, O Bacchus ! befriend me. 
Thou knowest that I have always loved thee better than all 
the other gods, and I will dedicate to thee that silver cup I 
stole last year from the burly carptor (butler), if thou wilt 
but befriend me with this water-loving demon. And thou, 
Spirit ! listen and hear me. Shall I be enabled to pur- 
chase my freedom next year ? Thou knowest ; for, as 
thou livest in the air, the birds * have doubtless acquainted 
thee with every secret of this house, — thou knowest that I 
have filched and pilfered all that I honestly — that is, safely 
— could lay finger upon for the last three years, and I yet 
want two thousand sesterces of the full sum. Shall I be 
able, O good Spirit! to make up the deficiency in the 
course of this year ? Speak — Ha ! does the water bubble ? 
No ; all is as still as a tomb. — Well, then, if not this year, 
in two years ? — Ah ! I hear something ; the demon is 
scratching at the door ; hell be here presently. — In two 
years, my good fellow : come now, two ; that's a very rea- 
sonable time. What ! dumb still ! Two years and a half 
— three — four ? Ill fortune to you, friend demon ! You 
are not a lady, that's clear, or you would not keep silence 
so long. Five — six — sixty years ? and may Pluto seize 
you ! I'll ask no more." And Sosia, in a rage, kicked 
down the water over his legs. He then, after much fum- 
bling, and more cursing, managed to extricate his head from 
the napkin in which it was completely folded — stared 
round — and discovered that he was in the dark. 

" What, ho ! Nydia ; the lamp is gone. Ah, traitress ; 
and thou art gone too ; but I'll catch thee — thou shalt 
smart for this ! " 

The slave groped his way to the door ; it was bolted 
from without : he was a prisoner instead of Nydia. What 

* Who are supposed to know all secrets. The same superstition prevails 
in the East, and is not without example, also, in our northern legends. 



326 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

could lie do ? He did not dare to knock lond — to call out 
— lest Arbaces should overhear him, and discover how he 
had been duped; and Nydia, meanwhile, had probably 
already gained the garden-gate, and was fast on her 
escape. 

"But," thought he, "she will go home, or, at least, be 
somewhere in the city. To-morrow, at dawn, when the 
slaves are at work in the peristyle, I can make myself 
heard ; then I can go forth and seek her. I shall be sure 
to find and bring her back, before Arbaces knows a word 
of the matter. Ah ! that's the best plan. Little traitress, 
my fingers itch at thee: and to leave only a bowl of 
water, too ! Had it been wine, it would have been some 
comfort.' ' 

While Sosia, thus entrapped, was lamenting his fate, and 
revolving his schemes to repossess himself of Nydia, the 
blind girl, with that singular precision and dexterous 
rapidity of motion, which, we have before observed, was 
peculiar to her, had passed lightly along the peristyle, 
threaded the opposite passage that led into the garden, 
and, with a beating heart, was about to proceed towards 
the gate, when she suddenly heard the sound of approach- 
ing steps, and distinguished the dreaded voice of Arbaces 
himself. She paused for a moment in doubt and terror ; 
then suddenly it flashed across her recollection that there 
was another passage which was little used except for the 
admission of the fair partakers of the Egyptian's secret 
revels, and which wound along the basement of that mas- 
sive fabric towards a door which also communicated with 
the garden. By good fortune it might be open. At that 
thought, she hastily retraced her steps, descended the 
narrow stairs at the right, and was soon at the entrance of 
the passage. Alas ! the door at the entrance was closed and 
secured. While she was yet assuring herself that it was 
indeed locked, she heard behind her the voice of Calenus, 
and, a moment after, that of Arbaces in low reply. She 
could not stay there ; they were probably passing to that 
very door. She sprang onward, and felt herself in un- 
known ground. The air grew damp and chill; this 
reassured her. She thought she might be among the 
cellars of the luxurious mansion, or, at least, in some rude 
spot not likely to be visited by its haughty lord, when 
again, her quick ear caught steps and the sound of voices, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 327 

On, on, she hurried, extending her arms, which now fre- 
quently encountered pillars of thick and massive form. 
With a tact, doubled in acuteness by her fear, she escaped 
these perils, and continued her way, the air growing more 
and more damp as she proceeded ; yet, still, as she ever 
anon paused for breath, she heard the advancing steps and 
the indistinct murmur of voices. At length she was 
abruptly stopped by a wall that seemed the limit of her 
path. Was there no spot in which she could hide ? No 
aperture ? no cavity ? There was none ! She stopped, 
and wrung her hands in despair ; then again, nerved as 
the voices neared upon her, she hurried on by the side of 
the wall ; and coming suddenly against one of the sharp 
buttresses that here and there jutted boldly forth, she fell 
to the ground. Though much bruised, her senses did not 
leave her ; she uttered no cry ; nay, she hailed the accident 
that had led her to something like a screen ; and creeping 
close up to the angle formed by the buttress, so that on 
one side at least she was sheltered from view, she gathered 
her slight and small form into its smallest compass, and 
breathlessly awaited her fate. 

Meanwhile Arbaces and the priest were taking their way 
to that secret chamber whose stores were so vaunted by the 
Egyptian. They were in a vast subterranean atrium, or 
hall ; the low roof was supported by short, thick pillars of 
an architecture far remote from the Grecian graces of that 
luxuriant period. The single and pale lamp, which Ar- 
baces bore, shed but an imperfect ray over the bare 
and rugged walls, in which the huge stones, without 
cement, were fitted curiously and uncouthly into each 
other. The disturbed reptiles glared dully on the intru- 
ders, and then crept into the shadow of the walls. 

Calenus shivered as he looked around and breathed the 
damp, unwholesome air. 

"Yet," said Arbaces, with a smile, perceiving his 
shudder, " it is these rude abodes that furnish the luxuries 
of the halls above. They are like the labourers of the 
world, — we despise their ruggedness, yet they feed the 
very pride that disdains them. ,, 

" And whither goes yon dim gallery to the left ? " asked 
Calenus ; " in this depth of gloom it seems without limit, 
as if winding into Hades." 

"On the contrary, it does but conduct to the upper 



fc 



328 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

rooms," answered Arbaces, carelessly : " it is to the right 
that we steer to our bourn." 

The hall, like many in the more habitable regions of 
Pompeii, branched off at the extremity into two wings or 
passages ; the length of which, not really great, was to the 
eye considerably exaggerated by the sadden gloom against 
which the lamp so faintly straggled. To the right of these 
aim the two comrades now directed their steps. 

" The gay Glaacns will be lodged to-morrow in apart- 
ments not much drier, and far less spacious than this," 
said Calends, as they passed by the very spot where, com- 
pletely wrapped in the shadow of the broad, projecting 
buttress, cowered the Thessalian. 

"Ay, but then he will have dry room, and ample 
enough, in the arena on the following day. And to think," 
continued Arbaces, slowly, and very deliberately — "to 
think that a word of thine could save him, and consign 
Arbaces to his doom ! " 

" That word shall never be spoken," said Calenus. 

" Bight, my Calenus ! it never shall," returned Arbaces, 
familiarly leaning his arm on the priest's shoulder : " and 
now, halt — we are at the door." 

The light trembled against a small door deep set in the 
wall, and guarded strongly by many plates and bindings of 
iron, that intersected the rough and dark wood. From 
his girdle Arbaces now drew a small ring, holding three or 
four short but strong keys. Oh, how beat the griping heart 
of Calenus, as he heard the rusty wards growl, as if resent- 
ing the admission to the treasures they guarded ! 

" Enter, my friend," said Arbaces, " while I hold the 
lamp on high, that thou mayst glut thine eyes on the 
yellow heaps." 

The impatient Calenus did not wait to be twice invited ; 
he hastened towards the aperture. 

Scarce had he crossed the threshold, when the strong 
hand of Arbaces plunged him forwards. 

" The word shall never be spoken ! " said the Egyptian, 
with a loud, exultant laugh, and closed the door upon the 
priest. 

Calenus had been precipitated down several steps, but 
not feeling at the moment the pain of his fall, he sprung 
up again to the door, and beating at it fiercely with his 
olenched fist, lie cried aloud in what seemed more a beast's 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEU. 3£9 

howl than a human voice, so keen was his agony and 
despair : " Oh, release me, release me, and I will ask no 
gold ! " 

The words but imperfectly penetrated the massive door, 
and Arbaces again laughed. Then, stamping his foot 
violently, rejoined, perhaps to give vent to his long-stifled 
passions, — 

" All the gold of Dalmatia," cried he, "will not buy thee 
a crust of bread. Starve, wretch ! thy dying groans will 
never wake even the echo of these vast halls : nor will the 
air ever reveal, as thou gnawcst, in thy desperate famine, 
thy flesh from thy bones, that so perishes the man who 
threatened, and could have undone, Arbaces ! Farewell ! " 

" Oh, pity — mercy ! Inhuman villain ; was it for 
this " 

The rest of the sentence was lost to the ear of Arbaces 
as he passed backward along the dim hall. A toad, plump 
and bloated, lay unmoving before his path ; the rays of 
the lamp fell upon its unshaped hideousness and red up- 
ward eye. Arbaces turned aside that he might not harm it. 

" Thou art loathsome and obscene," he muttered, " but 
thou canst not injure me ; therefore thou art safe in my 
path." 

The cries of Calenus, dulled and choked by the barrier 
that confined him, yet faintly reached the ear of the 
Egyptian. He paused and listened intently. 

" This is unfortunate," thought he ; " for I cannot sail 
till that voice is dumb for ever. My stores and treasures 
lie, not in yon dungeon it is true, but in the opposite wing. 
My slaves, as they move them, must not hear his voice. 
But what fear of that ? In three days, if he still survive, 
his accents, by my father's beard, must be weak enough, 
then ! — no, they could not pierce even through his tomb. 
By Isis, it is cold ! — I long for a deep draught of the spiced 
Falernian." 

With that the remorseless Egyptian drew his gown closer 
round him, and resought the upper air. 



830 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

NYDIA ACCOSTS CALENUS. 

What words of terror, yet of hope, had Nydia over- 
heard ! The next day Glaucus was to be condemned ; yet 
there lived one who conld save him, and adjudge Arbaces 
to his doom, and that one breathed within a few steps of 
her hiding-place ! She caught his cries and shrieks — his 
imprecations — his prayers, though they fell choked and 
muffled on her ear. He was imprisoned, but she knew the 
secret of his cell: could she but escape — could she but 
seek the praetor, he might yet in time be given to light, 
and preserve the Athenian. Her emotions almost stifled 
her ; her brain reeled — she felt her sense give way — but by 
a violent effort she mastered herself ; and, after" listening 
intently for several minutes, till she was convinced that 
Arbaces had left the space to solitude and herself, she crept 
on as her ear guided her to the very door that had closed 
upon Calenus. Here she more distinctly caught his accents 
of terror and despair. Thrice she attempted to speak, and 
thrice her voice failed to penetrate the folds of the heavy 
door. At length finding the lock, she applied her lips to 
its small aperture, and the prisoner distinctly heard a soft 
tone breathe his name. 

His blood curdled — his air stood on end. That awful 
solitude, what mysterious and preternatural being could 
penetrate ! " Who's there ? " he cried, in new alarm ; 
" what spectre — what dread larva, calls upon the lost 
Calenus ? " 

" Priest," replied the Thessalian, " unknown to Arbaces, 
I have been, by the permission of the gods, a witness to his 
perfidy. If I myself can escape from these walls, I may 
save thee. But let thy voice reach my ear through this 
narrow passage, and answer what I ask." 

"Ah, blessed spirit," said the priest, exultingly, and 
obeying the suggestion of Nydia, " save me, and I will sell 
he very cups on the altar to pay thy kindness." 

" I want not thy gold — I want thy secret. Did I hear 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 331 

aright ? — Canst thou save the Athenian Glaucus from the 
charge against his life ? " 

" I can — I can ! — therefore (may the Furies blast the 
foul Egyptian !) hath A^rbaces snared me thus, and left me 
to starve and rot ! " 

" They accuse the Athenian of murder : canst thou dis- 
prove the accusation ? " 

" Only free me, and the proudest head of Pompeii is not 
more safe than his. I saw the deed done — I saw A^baces 
strike the blow; I can convict the true murderer and 
acquit the innocent man. But if I perish, he dies also. 
Dost thou interest thyself for him ? Oh, blessed stranger, 
in my heart is the urn which condemns or frees him ! " 

" And thou wilt give full evidence of what thou 
knowest ? " 

" Will ! — Oh ! were hell at my feet — yes ! Revenge on 
the false Egyptian ! — revenge ! revenge ! revenge ! " 

As through his ground teeth Calenus shrieked forth 
those last words, Nydia felt that in his worst passions was 
her certainty of his justice to the Athenian. Her heart 
beat: was it to be her proud destiny to preserve her 
idolised — her adored ? " Enough/ ' said she ; " the powers 
that conducted me hither will carry me through all. Yes, 
I feel that I shall deliver thee. Wait in patience and 
hope." 

" But be cautious, be prudent, sweet stranger. Attempt 
not to appeal to Arbaces — he is marble. Seek the prastor 
— say what thou knowest — obtain his writ of search ; 
bring soldiers, and smiths of cunning — these locks are 
wondrous strong ! Time flies — I may starve — starve ! if 
you are not quick ! Go — go ! Yet stay — it is horrible to 
be alone ! — the air is like a charnel — and the scorpions — 
ha ! and the pale larvee ; Oh ! stay, stay ! " 

" Nay," said Nydia, terrified by the terror of the priest, 
and anxious to confer with herself, — " nay, for thy sake, I 
must depart. Take Hope for thy companion — farewell ! " 

So saying, she glided away, and felt with extended arms 
along the pillared space until she had gained the farther 
end of the hall and the mouth of the passage that led to 
the upper air. But there she paused ; she felt that it would 
be more safe to wait awhile, until the night was so far 
blended with the morning that the whole house would be 
buried in sleep, and so that she might quit it unobserved. 



383 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEEI. 

She, therefore, once more laid herself down, and counted 
the weary moments. In her sanguine heart, joy was the 
predominant emotion. Glaucus was in deadly peril — but 
she should save him ! 



CHAPTER XV. 



ARBACES AND 10NE — NYDIA GAINS THE GARDEN — WILL SHE 
ESCAPE AND SAYE THE ATHENIAN? 

When Arbaces had warmed his veins by large draughts 
of that spiced and perfumed wine so valued by the luxu- 
rious, he felt more than usually elated and exultant of 
heart. There is a pride in triumphant ingenuity, not less 
felt, perhaps, though its object be guilty. Our vain human 
nature hugs itself in the consciousness of superior craft 
and self-obtained success — afterwards comes the horrible 
reaction of remorse. 

But remorse was not a feeling which Arbaces was likely 
ever to experience for the fate of the base Calenus. He 
swept from his remembrance the thought of the priest's 
agonies and lingering death: he felt only that a great 
danger was passed, and a possible foe silenced ; all left to 
him now would be to account to the priesthood for the 
disappearance of Calenus ; and this he imagined it would 
not be difficult to do. Calenus had often been employed 
by him in various religious missions to the neighbouring 
cities. On some such errand he could now assert that he 
had been sent, with offerings to the shrines of Isis at Her- 
culaneum and Neapolis, placatory of the goddess for the 
recent murder of her priest Apascides. When Calenus had 
expired, his body might be thrown, previous to the 
Egyptian's departure from Pompeii, into the deep stream 
of the Sarnus ; and when discovered, supicion would pro- 
bably fall upon the Nazarene atheists, as an act of revenge 
for the death of Olinthus at the arena. After rapidly 
running over these plans for screening himself, Arbaces 
dismissed at once from his mind all recollection of the 
wretched priest ; and, animated by the success which had 
lately crowned all his schemes, he surrendered his thoughts 
to lone. The last time he had scci> her, she had driven 




Tfifi LAST DAYS Off POMPEtf. S33 

him from her presence by a reproachful and bitter scorn, 
which his arrogant nature was unable to endure. He now 
felt emboldened once more to renew that interview; for 
his passion for her was like similar feelings in other men 
— it made him restless for her presence, even though in 
that presence he was exasperated and humbled. From 
delicacy to her grief he laid not aside his dark and unf estive 
robes, but, renewing the perfumes on his raven locks, and 
arranging his tunic in its most becoming folds, he sought 
the chamber of the Neapolitan. Accosting the slave in 
attendance without, he inquired if lone had yet retired to 
rest ; and learning that she was still up, and unusually 
quiet and composed, he ventured into her presence. He 
found his beautiful ward sitting before a small table, and 
leaning her face upon both her hands in the attitude of 
thought. Yet the expression of the face itself possessed 
not its wonted bright and Psyche-like expression of sweet 
intelligence ; the lips were apart — the eye vacant and un- 
heeding—and the long dark hair, falling neglected and 
dishevelled upon her neck, gave by the contrast additional 
paleness to a cheek which had already lost the roundness 
of its contour. 

Arbaces gazed upon her a moment ere he advanced. 
She, too, lifted up her eyes ; and when she saw who was 
the intruder, shut them with an expression of pain, but 
did not stir. 

"Ah! " said Arbaces, in a low and earnest tone, as he 
respectfully, nay, humbly, advanced and seated himself at 
a little distance from the table — " Ah ! that my death 
could remove thy hatred, then would I gladly die ! Thou 
wrongest me, lone ; but I will bear the wrong without a 
murmur, only let me see thee sometimes. Chide, reproach, 
scorn me, if thou wilt — I will teach myself to bear it. 
And is not even thy bitterest tone sweeter to me than the 
music of the most artful lute ? In thy silence the world 
seems to stand still — a stagnation curdles up the veins of 
the earth — there is no earth, no life, without the light of 
thy countenance and the melody of thy voice." 

"Give me back my brother and my betrothed," said 
lone, in a calm and imploring tone, and a few large tears 
rolled unheeded down her cheeks. 

"Would that I could restore the one and save the 
other ? " returned Arbaces, with apparent emotion. 



334 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

" Yos ; to make thee happy I would renounce my ill-fated 
love, and gladly join thy hand to the Athenian's. Perhaps 
he will yet come unscathed from his trial [Arbaces had 
prevented her learning that the trial had already com- 
menced] ; if so, thou art free to judge or condemn him 
thyself. And think not, O lone, that I would follow thee 
longer with a prayer of love. I know it is in vain. Suffer 
me only to weep — to mourn with thee. Forgive a violence 
deeply repented, and that shall offend no more. Let me 
be to thee only what I once was — a friend, a father, a 
protector. Ah, lone ! spare me and forgive." 

"I forgive thee. Save but Glaucus, and I will renounce 
him. O mighty Arbaces ! thou art powerful in evil or in 
good : save the Athenian, and the poor lone will never see 
him more." As she spoke, she rose with weak and 
trembling limbs, and falling at his feet, she clasped his 
knees : " Oh ! if thou really lovest me — if thou art human 
— remember my father's ashes, remember my childhood, 
think of all the hours we passed happily together, and 
save my Glaucus ! " 

Strange convulsions shook the frame of the Egyptian ; 
his features worked fearfully — he turned hip face aside, 
and said, in a hollow voice, " If I could save him, even 
now, I would; but the Roman law is stern and sharp. 
Yet if I could succeed — if I could rescue and set him free 
— wouldst thou be mine — my bride ? " 

" Thine ? " repeated lone, rising : " thine ! — thy bride ? 
My brother's blood is unavenged : who slew him ? 
Nemesis, can I even sell, for the life of Glaucus, thy solemn 
trust ? Arbaces — thine ? Never." 

" lone, lone ! " cried Arbaces, passionately ; " why 
these mysterious words ? — why dost thou couple my name 
with the thought of thy brother's death ? " 

" My dreams couple it — and dreams are from the 
gods." 

" Vain fantasies all ! Is it for a dream that thou wouldst 
wrong the innocent, and hazard thy sole chance of saving 
thy lover's life ? " 

" Hear me ! " said lone, speaking firmly, and with a 
deliberate and solemn voice : " if Glaucus be saved by 
thee, I will never be borne to his home a bride. But I 
cannot master the horror of other rites : I cannot wed with 
thee. Interrupt me not ; but mark me, Arbaces ! — if 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 835 

Glaucns die, on that same day I baffle thine arts, and leave 
to thy love only my dust! Yes, — thou mayst put the 
knife and the poison from my reach — thou mayst imprison 
— thou mayst chain me, but the brave soul resolved to 
escape is never without means. These hands, naked and 
unarmed though they be, shall tear away the bonds of life. 
Fetter them, and these lips shall firmly refuse the air. 
Thon art learned — thou hast read how women have died 
rather than meet dishonour. If Glaucus perish, I will not 
unworthily linger behind him. By all the gods of the 
heaven, and the ocean, and the earth, I devote myself to 
death ? I have said ! " 

High, proud, dilating in her stature, like one inspired, 
the air and voice of lone struck an awe into the breast of 
her listener. 

" Brave heart ! " said he, after a short pause ; " thou art 
indeed worthy to bo mine. Oh! that I should have 
dreamt of such a partner in my lofty destinies, and never 
found it but in thee ! lone," he continued rapidly, "dost 
thou not see that we are born for each other ? Canst thou 
not recognise something kindred to thine own energy — 
thine own courage — in this high and self-dependent soul ? 
We were formed to unite our sympathies — formed to 
breathe a new spirit into this hackneyed and gross world 
— formed for the mighty ends which my soul, sweeping 
down the gloom of time, foresees with a prophet's vision. 
"With a resolution equal to thine own, I defy thy threats of 
an inglorious suicide. I hail thee as my own ! Queen of 
climes undarkened by tho eagle's wing, unravaged by his 
beak, I bow before thee in homage and in awe — but I 
claim thee in worship and in love ! Together will we cross 
the ocean — together will we found our realm ; and far 
distant ages shall acknowledge the long race of kings born 
from the marriage-bed of Ar Daces and lone ! " 

" Thou ravest ! These mystic declamations are suited 
rather to some palsied crone selling charms in the market- 
place than to the wise Arbaces. Thou hast heard my 
resolution, — it is fixed as the Fates themselves. Orcus has 
heard my vow, and it is written in the book of the un for- 
getful Hades. Atone, then, O Arbaces ! — atone the past : 
convert hatred into regard — vengeance into gratitude ; pre- 
serve one who shall never bo thy rival. These are cast 
suited to thy original nature, which gives forth sparks of 



336 THIS LAST DAYS 0* POMPEtl. 

something high and noble. They weigh in the scales of 
the Kings of Death : they turn the balance on that day 
when the disembodied soul stands shivering and dismayed 
between Tartarus and Elysium ; they gladden the heart in 
life, better and longer than the reward of a momentary 
passion. Oh, Arbaces ! hear me, and be swayed ! " 

" Enough, lone. All that I can do for Glaucus shall be 
done ; but blame me not if I fail. Inquire of my foes, 
even, if I have not sought, if I do not seek, to turn aside 
the sentence from his head ; and judge me accordingly. 
Sleep then, lone. Night wanes ; I leave thee to rest, — 
and mayst thou have kinder dreams of one who has no 
existence but in thine." 

Without waiting a reply, Arbaces hastily withdrew; 
afraid, perhaps, to trust himself further to the passionate 
prayer of lone, which racked him with jealousy, even while 
it touched him to compassion. But compassion itself came 
too late. Had lone even pledged him her hand as his 
reward, he could not now — his evidence given — the popu- 
lace excited — have saved the Athenian. Still, made 
sanguine by his very energy of mind, he threw himself on 
the chances of the future, and believed he should yet 
triumph over the woman that had so entangled his passions. 

As his attendants assisted to unrobe him for the night, 
the thought of Nydia flashed across him. He felt it was 
necessary that lone should never learn of her lover's 
frenzy, lest it might excuse his imputed crime ; and it was 
possible tliat her attendants might inform her that Nydia 
was under his roof, and she might desire to see her. As 
this idea cr< s ed him, he turned to one of his freedmen, — 

" Go, Callias," said he, " forthwith to Sosia, and tell 
him, that on no pretence is he to suffer the blind slave 
Nydia out of her chamber. But, stay — first seek those in 
attendance upon my ward, and caution them not to inform 
her that the blind girl is under my roof. Go — quick ! " 

The freedman hastened to obey. After having dis- 
charged his commission with respect to Ione's attendants, 
he sought the worthy Sosia. He found him not in the 
little cell which was apportioned for his cubiculum ; ho 
called his name aloud, and from Nydia's chamber, close at 
hand, he heard the voice of Sosia reply, — 

" Oh, Callias, is it you that I hear ? — the gods be praised! 
Open the door, I pray you ! " 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPETI. 837 

Callias withdrew the bolt, and the rueful face of Sosia 
hastily protruded itself. 

" What ! — in the chamber with that young girl, Sosia ! 
Prohpudorf Are there not fruits ripe enough on the wall, 
but that thou must tamper with such green " 

" Name not the little witch ! " interrupted Sosia, im- 
patiently; "she will be my ruin!" And he forthwith 
imparted to Callias the history of the Air Demon, and the 
escape of the Thessalian. 

" Hang thyself, then, unhappy Sosia ! I am just charged 
from Atrbaces with a message to thee ; on no account art 
thou to suffer her, even for a moment, from that 
chamber ! " 

" Me miserum I " exclaimed the slave. " What can I 
do ! — by this time she may have visited half Pompeii. But 
to-morrow I will undertake to catch her in her old haunts. 
Keep but my counsel, my dear Callias." 

u I will do all that friendship can, consistent with my 
own safety. But are you sure she has left the house ? — 
Bhe may be hiding here yet." 

" How is that possible ? She could easily have gained 
the garden ; and the door, as I told thee, was open." 

" Nay, not so ; for, at that very hour thou specifies t, 
Arbaces was in the garden with the priest Calenus. I 
went there in search of some herbs for my master's bath 
to-morrow. I saw the table set out ; but the gate I am 
sure was shut : depend npon it, that Calenus entered by 
the garden, and naturally closed the door after him." 

" But it was not locked." 

M Yes ; for I myself, angry at a negligence which might 
expose the bronzes in the peristyle to the mercy of any 
robber, turned the key, took it away, and — as I did not see 
the proper slave to whom to give it, or I should have rated 
him finely — here it actually is, still in my girdle." . 

" Oh, merciful Bacchus ! I did not pray to thee in vain, 
after all. Let us not lose a moment ! Let us to the garden 
instantly — she may yet be there ! " 

The good-natured Callias consented to assist the slave ; 
and after vainly searching the chambers at hand, and the 
recesses of the peristyle, they entered the garden. 

It was about this time that Nydia had resolved to quit 
her hiding-place, and venture forth on her way. Lightly, 
tremulously holding her breath, which ever and anon broke 



338 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

forth in quick convulsive gasps, — now gliding by the 
flower- wreathed columns that bordered the peristyle — now 
darkening the still moonshine that fell over its tesselated 
centre — now ascending the terrace of the garden — now 
gliding amidst the gloomy and breathless trees, she gained 
the fatal door — to find it locked ! We have all seen that 
expression of pain, of uncertainty, of fear, which a sudden 
disappointment of touch, if I may use the expression, casts 
over the face of the blind. But what words can paint the 
intolerable woe, the sinking of the whole heart, which was 
now visible on the features of the Thessalian ? Again and 
again her small, quivering hands wandered to and fro the 
inexorable door. Poor thing that thon wert ! in vain had 
been all thy noble courage, thy innocent craft, thy 
doublings to escape the hound and huntsmen ! Within 
but a few yards from thee, laughing at thy endeavours — 
thy despair — knowing thou wert now their own, and 
watching with cruel patience their own moment to seize 
their prey — thou art saved from seeing thy pursuers ! 

" Hush, Callias ! — let her go on. Let us see what she 
will do when she has convinced herself that the door is 
honest." 

" Look ! she raises her face to the heavens — she mutters 
— she sinks down despondent ! No ! by Pollux, she has 
some new scheme ! She will not resign herself ! By 
Jupiter, a tough spirit ! See, she springs up — she retraces 
her steps — she thinks of some other chance ! — I advise thee, 
Sosia, to delay no longer: seize her ere she quit the 
garden, — now ! " 

" Ah ! runaway ! I have thee — eh ? " said Sosia, seizing 
upon the unhappy Nydia. 

As a hare's last hwman cry in the fangs of the dogs — as 
the sharp voice of terror uttered by a sleep-walker sud- 
denly awakened — broke the shriek of the blind girl, when 
she felt the abrupt gripe of her gaoler. It was a shriek of 
such utter agony, such entire despair, that it might have 
rung haantingly in your ears for ever. She felt as if the 
last plank of the sinking Glaucus were torn from his clasp ! 
It had been a suspense of life and death ; and death had 
now won the game. 

" Gods! that cry will alarm the house ! Arbaces sleeps 
full lightly. Gag her ! " cried Callias. 

" Ah! here is the very napkin with which the young 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 839 

witch conjured away my reason ! Come, that's right ; now 
thou art dumb as well as blind.' ' 

And, catching the light weight in his arms, Sosia soon 
gained the house, and reached the chamber from which 
Nydia had escaped. There, removing the gag, he left her 
to a solitude so racked and terrible, that out of Hades its 
anguish could scarcely be exceeded. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE S0EE0W OF BOON COMPANIONS FOE OUE AFFLICTIONS. — 

THE DUNGEON AND ITS VICTIMS. 

It was now late on the third and last day of the trial 
of Glaucus and Olinthus. A few hours after the court 
had broke up and judgment been given, a small party of 
the fashionable youth at Pompeii were assembled round 
the fastidious board of Lepidus. 

" So Glaucus denies nis crime to the last ? " said 
Clodius. 

" Yes; but the testimony of Arbaces was convincing ; he 
saw the blow given," answered Lepidus. 

" What could have been the cause ? " 

" Why, the priest was a gloomy and sullen fellow. He 
probably rated Glaucus soundly about his gay life and 
gaming habits, and ultimately swore he would not consent 
to his marriage with lone. High words arose ; Glaucus 
seems to have been full of the passionate god, and struck 
in sudden exasperation. The excitement of wine, the 
desperation of abrupt remorse, brought on the delirium 
under which he suffered for some days ; and I can readily 
imagine, poor fellow ! that, yet confused by that delirium, 
he is even now unconscious of the crime he committed ! 
Such, at least, is the shrewd conjecture of Arbaces, who 
seems to have been most kind and forbearing in his tes- 
timony." 

" ±ea ; he has made, himself generally popular by it. 
But, in consideration of these extenuating circumstances, 
the senate should have relaxed the sentence." 

" And they would have done so, but for the people ; but 

they were outrageous. The priest had spared no pains to 

8 2 



340 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

excite them ; and they imagined — the ferocious brutes ! — 
because Glaucus was a rich man and a gentleman, that he 
was likely to escape ; and therefore they were inveterate 
against him, and doubly resolved upon his sentence. It 
seems, by some accident or other, that he was never for- 
mally enrolled as a Roman citizen ; and thus the senate is 
deprived of die power to resist the people, though, after all, 
there was but a majority of three against him. Ho ! tho 
Chian ! " 

" He looks sadly altered ; but how composed and 
fearless ! " 

" Ay, we shall see if his firmness will last over to- 
morrow. But what merit in courage, when that atheis- 
tical hound, Olinthus, manifested the same ? " 

" The blasphemer ! Yes," said Lepidus, with pious 
wrath, " no wonder that one of the decurions was, but two 
days ago, struck dead by lightning in a serene sky.* The 
gods feel vengeance against Pompeii while the vile dese- 
crator is alive within its walls." 

" Yet so lenient was the senate, that had he but expressed 
his penitence, and scattered a few grains of incense on the 
altar of Cybele, he would have been let off. I doubt whether 
these Nazarenes, had they the state religion, would be as 
tolerant to us, supposing we had kicked down the image of 
their Deity, blasphemed their rites, and denied their faith." 

" They give Glaucus one chance, in consideration of the 
circumstances ; they allow him, against the lion, the use of 
the same stilus wherewith he smote the priest." 

" Hast thou seen the lion ? hast thou looked at his teeth 
and fangs, and wilt thou call that a chance ? Why, sword 
and buckler would be mere reed and papyrus against the 
rush of the mighty, beast ! No, I think the true mercy has 
been, not to leave him long in suspense ; and it was there- 
fore fortunate for him that our benign laws are slow to 
pronounce, but swift to execute; and that the games of 
the amphitheatre had been, by a sort of providence, so long 
since fixed for to-morrow. He who awaits death, dies 
twice." 

"As for the Atheist," said Clodius, "he is to cope the 

* Pliny says that, immediately before the eruption of Vesuvius, one of 
the decurtones munidpales was— though the heaven was unclouded— struck 
dead by lightning. 



Pt 



TME LAST DAYS OB 1 POMPElt. 341 

grim tiger naked-handed. Well, these combats are past 
betting on. Who will take the odds ? " 

A peal of laughter announced the ridicule of the question. 

" Poor Clodius ! " said the host ; " to lose a friend is 
something ; but to find no one to bet on the chance of his 
escape is a worse misfortune to thee." ■• 

" Why, it is provoking ; it would have been' some conso- 
lation to him and to me to think he was useful to the 
last." 

" The people," said the grave Pansa, " are all delighted 
with the result. They were so much afraid the sports at 
the amphitheatre would go off without a criminal for the 
beasts ; and now, to get two such criminals is indeed a joy 
for the poor fellows! They work hard; they ought to 
have some amusement." 

" There speaks the popular Pansa, who never moves 
without a string of clients as long as an Indian triumph. 
He is always prating about the people. Gods ! he will end 
by being a Gracchus ! " 

" Certainly I am no insolent patrician," said Pansa, 
with a generous air. 

u Well," observed Lepidus, " it would have been as- 
suredly dangerous to have been merciful at the eve of a 
beast-fight. If ever I, though a Roman bred and born, 
come to be tried, pray Jupiter there may be either no 
beasts in the vivaria, or plenty of criminals in the gaol." 

" And pray," said one of the party, " what has become 
of the poor girl whom Glaucus was to have married ? A 
widow without being a bride— that is hard ! " 

" Oh," returned Clodius, " she is safe under the protec- 
tion- of her guardian, Arbaces. It was natural she should 
go to him when she had lost both lover and brother." 

"By sweet Venus, Glaucus was fortunate among the 
women ! They say the rich Julia was in love with him." 

" A mere fable, my friend," said Clodius, coxcombically; 
" I was with her to-day. If any feeling of the sort she 
ever conceived, I flatter myself that J have consoled her." 

" Hush, gentlemen ! " said Pansa ; " do you not know 
that Clodius is employed at the house of Diomed in blow- 
ing hard at the torch ? It begins to burn, and will soon 
shine bright on the shrine of Hymen." 

" Is it so ? " said Lepidus. " What ! Clodius become a 
married man ? — Fie ! " 



A 




842 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

"Never fear," answered Clodius; "old Diomed is de- 
lighted at the notion of marrying his daughter to a noble- 
man, and will come down largely with the sesterces. Yon 
will see that I shall not lock them np in the atrium. It 
will be a white day for his jolly friends, when Clodius 
marries an hrfress." 

" Say yon so ? " cried Lepidus ; " com©, then, a full cnp 
to the health of the fair Julia ! " 

While such was the conversation — one not discordant to 
the tone of mind common among the dissipated of that 
day, and which might perhaps, a century ago, have found 
an echo in the looser circles of Paris — while such, I say, 
was the conversation in the gaudy triclinium of Lepidus, 
far different the scene which scowled before the young 
Athenian. 

After his condemnation, Grlaucus was admitted no more 
to the gentle guardianship of Sallust, the only friend of 
his distress. He was led along the forum till the guards 
stopped at -a small door by the side of the temple of Jupiter. 
You may see the place still. The door opened in the centre 
in a somewhat singular fashion, revolving round on its 
hinges, as it were, like a modern turnstile, so as only to 
leave half the threshold open at the same time. Through 
this narrow aperture they thrust the prisoner, placed before 
him a loaf and a pitcher of water, and left him to darkness, 
and, as he thought, to solitude. So sudden had been that 
revolution of fortune which had prostrated him from the 
palmy height of youthful pleasure and successful love to 
the lowest abyss of ignominy, and the horror of a most 
bloody death, that he could scarcely convince himself that 
he was not hold in the meshes of some fearful dream. His 
elastic and glorious frame had triumphed over a potion, 
the greater part of which he had fortunately not drained. 
He had recovered sense and consciousness, but still a dim 
and misty depression clung to his nerves and darkened his 
mind. His natural courage, and the Greek nobility of 
pride, enabled him to vanquish all unbecoming apprehen- 
sion, and, in the judgment-court, to face his awful lot with 
a steady mien and unquailing eye. But the consciousness 
of innocence scarcely sufficed to support him when the gaze 
of men no longer excited his haughty valour, and he was 
left to loneliness and silence. He felt the damps of the 
dungeon sink chillingly into his enfeebled frame. He — 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 848 

the fastidious, the luxurious, the refined — he who had 
hitherto braved no hardship and known no sorrow. Beau- 
tiful bird that he was ! why had he left his far and sunny 
clime — the olive-groves of his native hills — the music of 
immemorial streams ? Why had he wantoned on his glit- 
tering plumage amidst these harsh and ungenipj strangers, 
dazzling the eyes with his gorgeous hues, charming the ear 
with his blithesome song — thus suddenly to be arrested — 
caged in darkness — a victim and a prey — his gay flights 
for ever over — his hymns of gladness for ever stilled ! The 
poor Athenian ! his very faults the exuberance of a gentle 
and joyous nature, how little had his past career fitted him 
for the trials he was destined to undergo ! The hoots of 
the mob, amidst whose plaudits he had so often guided his 
graceful car and bounding steeds, still rang gratingly in his 
ear. The cold and stony faces of his former friends (the 
co-mates of his merry revels) still rose before his eye. 
None now were by to soothe, to sustain, the admired, the 
adulated stranger. These walls opened but on the dread 
arena of a violent and shameful death. And lone ! of her, 
too, he had heard naught ; no encouraging word, no pity- 
ing message ; she, too, had forsaken him ; she believed him 
guilty — and of what crime? — the murder of a brother! 
He ground his teeth — he groaned aloud — and ever and 
anon a sharp fear shot across him. In that fell and fierce 
delirium which had so unaccountably seized his soul, which 
had so ravaged the disordered brain, might he not, indeed, 
unknowing to himself, have committed the crime of which 
he was accused ? Yet, as the thought flashed upon him, it 
was as suddenly checked ; for, amidst all the darkness of 
the past, he thought distinctly to recall the dim grove of 
Cybele, the upward face of the pale dead, the pause that 
he had made beside the corpso, and the sudden shock that 
felled him to the earth. He felt convinced of his inno- 
cence; and yet who, to the latest time, long after his 
mangled remains were mingled with the elements, would 
believe him guiltless, or uphold his fame ? As he recalled 
his interview with Arbaces, and the causes of revenge 
which had been excited in the heart of that dark and fear- 
ful man, he could not but believe that he was the victim of 
some deep-laid and mysterious snare — the clue and train of 
which he was lost in attempting to discover : and lone — 
Arbaces loved her — might his rival's success be founded 



844 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

upon his ruin ? That thought cut him more deeply than 
all ; and his noble heart was more stung by jealousy than 
appalled by fear. Again he groaned aloud. 

A voice from the recess of the darkness answered that 
burst of anguish. " Who [it said] is my companion in this 
awful hour 9 Athenian Glaucus, it is thou ? " 

" So, indcfff, they called me in mine hour of fortune : 
they may have other names for me now. And thy name, 
stranger ? " 

" Is Olinthus, thy co-mate in the prison as the trial." 

" What ! he whom they call the Atheist ? Is it the in- 
justice of men that hath taught thee to deny the providence 
of the gods ? " 

" Alas ! " answered Olinthus : " thou, not I, art the true 
Atheist, for thou deniest the sole true God — the Unknown 
One — to whom thy Athenian fathers erected an altar. It 
is in this hour that I know my God. He is with me in the 
dungeon ; His smile penetrates the darkness ; on the eve 
of death my heart whispers immortality, and earth recedes 
from me but to bring the weary soul nearer unto heaven." 

" Tell me," said Glaucus, abruptly, " did I not hear thy 
name coupled with that of Apoecides in my trial ? Dost 
thou believe me guilty ? " 

" God alone reads the heart \ but my suspicion rested 
not upon thee." 

" On whom, then ? " 

" Thy accuser, Arbaccs." 

" Ha ! thou cheerest me : and wherefore ? " 

" Because I know the man's evil breast, and he had 
cause to fear him who is now dead." 

With that, Olinthus proceeded to inform Glaucus of 
those details which the reader already knows, the conver- 
sion of Apeecides, the plan they had proposed for the 
detection of the impostures of the Egyptian priestcraft, 
and of the seductions practised by Arbaces upon the youth- 
ful weakness of the proselyte. " Therefore," concluded 
Olinthus, " had the deceased encountered Arbaces, reviled 
his treasons, and threatened detection, the place, the hour, 
might have favoured the wrath of the Egyptian, and 
passion and craft alike dictated the fatal blow." 

" It must have been so ! " cried Glaucus, joyfully. " I 
am happy." 

" Yet what, O unfortunate ! avails to thee now the dis- 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 345 

covery ? Thou art condemned and fated ; and in thine 
innocence thou wilt perish.' ' 

" But I shall know myself guiltless ; and in my mysterious 
madness I had fearful, though momentary, doubts. Yet 
tell me, man of a strange creed, thinkest thcu that for 
small errors, or for ancestral faults, we are for ever aban- 
doned and accursed by the powers above, wlutfever name 
thou allottest to them ? " 

" God is just, and abandons not His creatures for their 
mere human frailty. God is merciful, and curses none but 
the wicked who repent not." 

" Yet it seemeth to me as if, in the divine anger, I had 
been smitten by a sudden madness, a supernatural and 
solemn frenzy, wrought not by human means." 

" There are demons on earth," answered the Nazarene, 
fearfully, " as well as there are God and His Son in heaven ; 
and since thou acknowledgest not the last, the first may 
have had power over thee." 

Glaucus did not reply, and there was a silence for some 
minutes. At length the Athenian said, in a changed, and 
soft, and half-hesitating voice, " Christian, believest thou, 
among the doctrines of thy creed, that the dead live again 
— that they who have loved here are united hereafter — that 
beyond the grave our good name shines pure from the 
mortal mists that unjustly dim it in the gross-eyed world 
— and that the streams which are divided by the desert 
and the rock meet in the solemn Hades, and flow once more 
into one ? " 

" Believe I that, O Athenian ? No, I do not believe — I 
lcnoio ! and it is that beautiful and blessed assurance which 
supports me now. O Cyllene ! " continued Olinthus, pas- 
sionately, " bride of my heart ! torn from me in the first 
month of our nuptials, shall I not see thee yet, and ere 
many days be past ? Welcome, welcome death, that will 
bring me to heaven and thee ! " 

There was something in this sudden burst of human 
affection which struck a kindred chord in the soul of the 
Greek. He felt, for the first time, a sympathy greater 
than mere affliction between him and his companion. He 
crept nearer towards Olinthus ; for the Italians, fierce in 
some points, were not unnecessarily cruel in others ; they 
spared the separate cell and the superfluous chain, and 
arfowed the victims of the arena the sad comfort of such 



846 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

freedom and such companionship as the prison would 
afford. 

" Yes," continued the Christian with holy fervour, " the 
immortality of the soul — the resurrection — the reunion of 
the dead — is the great principle of our creed — the great 
truth a God suffered death itself to attest and proclaim. 
No fabled Elysium — no poetic Orcus — but a pure and 
radiant heritage of heaven itself, is the portion of the 
good." 

" Tell me, then, thy doctrines, and expound to me thy 
hopes/' said Glaucus, earnestly. 

Olinthus was not slow to obey that prayer ; and there — 
as oftentimes in the early ages of the Christian creed — it 
was in the darkness of the dungeon, and over the approach 
of death, that the dawning Gospel shed its soft and conse- 
crating rays. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

A CHANGE FOB GLAUCUS. 



Tiie hours passed in lingering torture over the head of 
Nydia from the time in which she had been replaced in 
her cell. 

Sosia, as if afraid he should be again outwitted, had 
refrained from visiting her until late in the morning of the 
following day, and then he but thrust in the periodical 
basket of food and wine, and hastily reclosed the door. 
That day rolled on, and Nydia felt herself pent — barred — 
inexorably confined, when that day was the judgment-day 
of Glaucus, and when her release would have saved him ! 
Yet knowing, almost impossible as seemed her escape, that 
the sole chance for the life of Glaucus rested on her, this 
young girl, frail, passionate, and acutely susceptible as she 
was — resolved not to give way to a despair that would 
disable her from seizing whatever opportunity might occur. 
She kept her senses whenever, beneath the whirl of intole- 
rable thought, they reeled and tottered ; nay, she took food 
and wine that she might sustain her strength — that she 
might be prepared ! 

She revolved scheme after scheme of escape, and was 
forced to dismiss all. Yet Sosia was her only hope, the 




THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 847 

only instrument with which she could tamper. He had 
been superstitious in the desire of ascertaining whether he 
could eventually purchase . his freedom. Blessed gods ! 
might he not be won by the bribe of freedom itself ? was 
she not nearly rich enough to purchase it ? Her slender 
arms were covered with bracelets, the presentp of lone ; 
and on her neck she yet wore that very chain which, it may 
be remembered, had occasioned her jealous quarrel with 
Glaucus, and which she had afterwards promised vainly to 
wear for ever. She waited burningly till Sosia should 
again appear ; but as hour after hour passed, and he came 
not, she grew impatient. Every nerve beat with fever ; 
she could endure the solitude no longer — she groaned, she 
shrieked aloud — she beat herself against the door. Her 
cries echoed along the hall, and Sosia, in peevish anger, 
hastened to see what was the matter, and silence his 
prisoner if possible. 

" Ho ! ho ! what is this ? " said he, surlily. " Young 
slave, if thou screamest out thus, we must gag thee again. 
My shoulders will smart for it, if thou art heard by my 
master." 

" Kind Sosia, chide me not — I cannot endure to be so 
long alone," answered Nydia; "the solitude appals me. 
Sit with me, I pray, a little while. Nay, fear not that I 
should attempt to escape ; place thy seat before the door. 
Keep thine eye on me — I will not stir from this spot." 

Sosia, who was a considerable gossip himself, was 
moved by this address. He pitied one who had nobody to 
talk with — it was his case too ; he pitied — and resolved to 
relieve himself. He took the hint of Nydia, placed a stool 
before the door, leant his back against it, and replied, — 

" I am sure I do not wish to be churlish ; and so far as 
a little innocent chat goes, I have no objection to indulge 
you. But mind, no tricks — no more conjuring ! " 

" No, no ; tell me, dear Sosia, what is the hour ? " 

" It is already evening — the goats are going home." 

" O gods ! how went the trial ? " 

" Both condemned ! " 

Nydia repressed the shriek. " Well — well, I thought it 
would be so. When do they suffer ? " 

" To-morrow, in the amphitheatre. If it were not fo 
thee, little wretch, I should be allowed to go with the rest 
and see it." 



348 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPElt 

Nydia leant back for some moments. Nature could 
endure no more — she had fainted away. But Sosia did 
not perceive it, for it was the dusk of eve, and he was full 
of his own privations. Ho went on lamenting the loss of 
so delightful a show, and accusing the injustice of Arbaces 
for singling him out from all his fellows to be converted 
into a gaoler ; and ere he had half finished, Nydia, with a 
deep sigh, recovered the sense of life. 

"Thou sighest, blind one, at my loss! Well, that is 
some comfort. So long as you acknowledge how much you 
cost me, I will endeavour not to grumble. It is hard to be 
ill-treated, and yet not pitied." 

" Sosia, how much dost thou require to make up the 
purchase of thy freedom ? " 

" How much ? Why, about two thousand sesterces." 

" The gods be praised ! not more ? Secat thou these 
bracelets and this chain? They are well worth double 
that sum. I will give them thee if—" 

" Tempt me not : I cannot release thee. Arbaces is a 
severe and awful master. Who knows but I might feed 
the fishes of the Sarnus ? Alas ! all the sesterces in the 
world would not buy me back into life. Better a live dog 
than a dead lion." 

" Sosia, thy freedom ! Think well ! If thou wilt let 
me out only for one little hour ! — let me out at midnight — 
I will return ere to-morrow's dawn ; nay, thou canst go 
with mc." 

"No," said Sosia, sturdily, "a slavo once disobeyed 
Arbaces, and he was never more heard of." 

" But the law gives a master no power over the life of a 
slave." 

" The law is very obliging, but more polite than efficient. 
I know that Arbaces always gets the law on his side. 
Besides, if I am once dead, what law can bring me to life 



again 



l »» 



Nydia wrung her hands. " Is there no hope, then ? " 
said she, convulsively. 

" None of escape till Arbaces gives the word." 

"Well, then," said Nydia, quickly, "thou wilt not, at 
least, refuse to take a letter for mo: thy master cannot 
kill thoc for that." 

"To whom?" 

" The praetor." 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 849 

" To a magistrate ? No — not I. I should bo mado a 
witness in court, for what I know ; and the way they 
cross-examine the slaves is by the torture." 

" Pardon : I meant not the proetor — it was a word that 
escaped me unawares : I meant quite another person — the 
gay Sallust." 

" Oh ! and what want you with him ? " 

" Glaucus was my master ; he purchased me from a 
cruel lord. He alone has been kind to me. He is to die. 
I shall never live happily if I cannot, in his hour of trial 
and doom, let him know that one heart is grateful to him. 
Sallust is his friend ; he will convey my message." 

" I am- sure he will do no such thing. Glaucus will 
have enough to think of between this and to-morrow with- 
out troubling his head about a blind girl." 

"Man," said Nydia, rising, "wilt thou become free? 
Thou hast the offer in thy power ; to-morrow it will bo too 
late. Never was freedom more cheaply purchased. Thou 
canst easily and unmissed leave home : less than half an 
hour will suffice for thine absence. And for such a trifle 
wilt thou refuse liberty ? " 

Sosia was greatly moved. It was true that the request 
was remarkably silly; but what was that to him? So 
much the better. He could lock the door on Nydia, and, 
if Arbaces should learn his absence, the offence was venial, 
and would merit but a reprimand. Yet, should Nydia's 
letter contain something more than what she had said — 
should it speak of her imprisonment, as he shrewdly con- 
jectured it would do — what then ! It need never be known 
to Arbaces that he had carried the letter. At the worst 
the bribe was enormous — the risk light — the temptation'' 
irresistible. He hesitated no longer — he assented to the 
proposal. 

" Give me the trinkets, and I will take the letter. Yet 
stay — thou art a slave — thou hast no right to these orna- 
ments — they are thy master's." 

" They were the gifts of Glaucus ; he is my master. 
What chance hath he to claim them P Who else will know 
they are in my possession ? " 

" Enough — I will bring thee the papyrus." 

" No, not papyrus — a tablet of wax and a stilus." 

Nydia, as the reader will have seen, was born of gentel 
parents. They had done all to lighten her calamity, and 




850 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

her quick intellect seconded their exertions. Despite her 
blindness, she had therefore acquired in childhood, though 
imperfectly, the art to write with the sharp stilus upon 
waxen tablets, in which her exquisite sense of touch came 
to her aid. When the tablets were brought to her, she 
thus painfully traced some words in Greek, the language 
of her childhood, and which almost every Italian of the 
higher ranks was then supposed to know. She carefully 
wound round the epistle the protecting thread, and covered 
its knot with wax ; and ere she placed it in the hands of 
Sosia, she thus addressed him : — 

" Sosia, I am blind and in prison. Thou mayst think to 
deceive me — thou mayst pretend only to take the letter to 
Sallust — thou mayst not fulfil thy charge: but here I 
solemnly dedicate thy head to vengeance, thy soul to the 
infernal powers, if thou wrongest thy trust; and I call 
upon thee to place thy right hand of faith in mine, and 
repeat after me these words : — ' By the ground on which 
we stand — by the elements which contain life and can 
curse life — by Orcus, the all-avenging — by the Olympian 
Jupiter, the all-seeing — I swear that I will honestly dis- 
charge my trust, and faithfully deliver into the hands of 
Sallust this letter ? And if I perjure myself in this oath, 
may the full curses of heaven and hell be wreaked upon 
me ! ' Enough ! — I trust thee — take thy reward. It is 
already dark — depart at once." 

" Thou art a strange girl, and thou hast frightened me 
terribly ; but it is all very natural : and if Sallust is to be 
found, 1 give him this letter as I have sworn. By my 
faith, I may have my little peccadilloes ! but perjury — no ! 
I leave that to my betters." 

With this Sosia withdrew, carefully passing the heavy 
bolt athwart Nydia's door — carefully locking its wards : 
and, hanging the key to his girdle, he retired to his own 
den, enveloped himself from head to foot in a huge dis- 
guising cloak, and slipped out by the back way undisturbed 
and unseen. 

The streets were thin and empty. He soon gained the 
house of Sallust. The porter bade him leave his letter, 
and be gone ; for Sallust was so grieved at the condem- 
nation of Glaucus, that he could not on any account be 
disturbed. 

."JSeyertheless, I have sworn to give this letter into his 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 351 

own bands — do so I must ! " And Sosia, well knowing by 
experience that Cerberus loves a sop, thrust some half a 
dozen sesterces into the hand of the porter. 

" Well, well," said the latter, relenting, " you may enter 
if you will ; but, to tell you the truth, Sallust is drinking 
himself out of his grief. It is his way when anything 
disturbs him. He orders a capital supper, the best wine, 
and does not give over till everything is out of his head — 
but the liquor." 

"An excellent plan — excellent! Ah, what it is to be 
rich ! If ' I were Sallust, I would have some grief or 
another every day. But just say a kind word for me with 
the atriensis — I see him coming." 

Sallust was too sad to receive company ; he was too sad, 
also, to drink alone ; so, as was his wont, he admitted his 
favourite freedman to his entertainment, and a stranger 
banquet never was held. For ever and anon, the kind- 
hearted epicure sighed, whimpered, wept outright, and 
then turned with double zest to some new dish or his 
refilled goblet. 

" My good fellow," said he to his companion, " it was a 
most awful judgment — heigho! — it is not bad that kid, 
eh ? Poor, dear Glaucus ! — what a jaw the lion has too ! 
Ah, ah, ah!" 

And Sallust sobbed loudly — the fit was stopped by a 
counteraction of hiccups. 

" Take a cup of wine," said the freedman. 

" A thought too cold : but then how cold Glaucus must 
be ! Shut up the house to-morrow — not a slave shall stir 
forth — none of my people shall honour that cursed arena* — 
No, no ! " 

" Taste the Falernian — your grief distracts you. By the 
gods it does- — a piece of that cheesecake." 

It was at this auspicious moment that Sosia was ad- 
mitted to the presence of the disconsolate carouser. 

" Ho— what art thou ? " 

" Merely a messenger to Sallust. I give him this billet 
from a young female. There is no answer that I know of. 
May I withdraw ? " 

Thus said the discreet Sosia, keeping his face muffled in 
his cloak, and speaking with a feigned voice, so that he 
might not hereafter be recognised. 

"By the gods — a pimp! Unfeeling wretch!— do you 



I 



352 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 

not see my sorrows ? Go ! — and the corses of Pandarus 
with yon ! " 

Sosia lost not a moment in retiring. 

" Will yon read the letter, Sallnst ? " said the freedman. 

" Letter ! — which letter ? " said the epicnre, reeling, for 
he began to see double. " A curse on these wenches, say I ! 
Am I a man to think of — (hiccup) — pleasure, when — when 
— my friend is going to be eat np ? " 

" Eat another tartlet." 

" No, no ! My grief chokes me ! " 

"Take him to bed," said the freedman; and, Sallust's 
head now declining fairly on his breast, they bore him off 
to his cubicnlum, still muttering lamentations for Glancus, 
and imprecations on the unfeeling overtures of ladies of 
pleasure. 

Meanwhile Sosia strode indignantly homeward. " Pimp, 
indeed ! " quoth he to himself. " Pimp ! a scurvy-tongned 
fellow that Sallnst ! Had I been called knave, or thief, I 
could have forgiven it ; but pimp ! Faugh ! there is some- 
thing in the word which the toughest stomach in the world 
would rise against. A knave is a knave for his own 
pleasure, and a thief a thief for his own profit ; and there 
is something honourable and philosophical in being a rascal 
for one's own sake : that is doing things upon principle — 
upon a grand scale. But a pimp is a thing that defiles 
itself for another — a pipkin that is put on the fire for 
another man's pottage ! a napkin, that every guest wipes 
his hands upon ! and the scullion says, * by your leave,' too. 
A pimp ! I would rather he had called me parricide ! But 
the man was drunk, and did not know what he said ; and, 
besides, I disguised myself. Had he seen it had been 
Sosia who addressed him, it would have been ' honest 
Sosia ! ' and, ' worthy man ! ' I warrant. Nevertheless, 
the trinkets have been won easily — that's some comfort ! 
and, goddess Feronia ! I shall be a freedman soon ! and 
then I should like to see who'll call me pimp ! — unless, in- 
deed, he pay me pretty handsomely for it ! " 

While Sosia was soliloquising in this high-minded and 
generous vein, his path lay along a narrow lane that led 
towards the amphitheatre and its adjacent palaces. Sud- 
denly, as he turned a sharp corner he found himself in the 
midst of a considerable crowd. Men, women, and children, 
all were hurrying or laughing, talking, gesticulating ; and, 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 358 

ere he was aw^Ve of it, the worthy Sosia was borne away 
with the noisy stream. 

"What now?" he asked of his nearest neighbour, a 
young artificer ? " what now ? Where are all these good 
folks thronging ? Does any rich patron give away alms or 
viands to-night ? " 

" Not so, man — better still," replied the artificer ; " the 
noble Pansa — the people's friend — has granted the public 
leave to see the beasts in their vivaria. By Hercules ! 
they will not be seen so safely by some persons to- 
morrow." 

u, Tis a pretty sight," said the slave, yielding to the 
throng that impelled him onward ; " and since I may not 
go to the sports to-morrow, I may as well take a peep at 
the beasts to-night." 

"You will do well," returned his new acquaintance, "a 
lion and a tiger are not to be seen at Pompeii every day." 

The crowd had now entered a broken and wide space of 
ground, on which, as it was only lighted scantily and from 
a distance, the press became dangerous to those whose 
limbs and shoulders were not fitted for a mob. Neverthe- 
less, the women especially — many of them with children 
in their arms, or even at the breast — were the most reso- 
lute in forcing their way ; and their shrill exclamations of 
complaint or objurgation were heard loud above the more 
jovial and masculine voices. Yet, amidst them was a 
young and girlish voice, that appeared to come from one 
too happy in her excitement to be alive to the incon- 
venience of the crowd. 

" Aha ! " cried the young woman, to some of her com- 
panions, " I always told you so ; I always said we should 
have a man for the lion ; and now we have one for the 
tiger too ! I wish to-morrow were come ! " 

** Ho, ho ! for the merry, merry show,' 
"With a forest of faces in every row ! 
Lo ! the swordsmen, bold as the son of Alcmsena, 
Sweep, side by side, o'er the hushed arena. 
I Talk while you may, you will hold your breath 
When they meet in the £rasp of the glowing death ! 
Tramp ! tramp ! how gaily they go ! 
Ho ! no ! for the merry, merry show ! " 

" A jolly girl ! " said Sosia. 

"Yes," replied the young artificer, a curly-headed, 

▲ A 




36 h THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

handsome youth. "Yes," replied he, enviously; "the 
women love a gladiator. If I had been a slave, I would 
have soon found my schoolmaster in the lanista ! " 

" Would you, indeed ? " said Sosia, with a sneer. 
" People's notions differ ! " 

The crowd had now arrived at the place of destination ; 
but as the cell in which the wild beasts were confined 
was extremely small and narrow, tenfold more vehement 
than it hitherto had been was the rush of the aspirants to 
obtain admittance. Two of the officers of the amphi- 
theatre, placed at the entrance, very wisely mitigated the 
evil by dispensing to the foremost only a limited number 
of tickets at a time, and admitting no new visitors till 
their predecessors had sated their curiosity. Sosia, who 
was a tolerably stout fellow, and not troubled with any re- 
markable scruples of diffidence or good-breeding, contrived 
to be among the first of the initiated. 

Separated from his companion the artificer, Sosia found 
himself in a narrow cell of oppressive heat and atmo- 
sphere, and lighted by several rank and flaring torches. 

The animals, usually kept in different vivaria, or dens, 
were now, for the greater entertainment of the visitors, 
placed in one, but equally indeed divided from each other 
by strong cages protected by iron bars. 

There they were, the fell and grim wanderers of the 
desert, who have now become almost the principal agents 
of this story. The lion, who, as being the more gentle 
by nature than his fellow-beast, had been more incited to 
ferocity by hunger, stalked restlessly and fiercely to and 
fro his narrow confines : his eyes were lurid with rage and 
famine : and as, every now and then, he paused and glared 
around, the spectators fearfully pressed backward, and 
drew their breath more quickly. But the tiger lay quiet 
and extended at full length in his cage, and only by an 
occasional play of his tail, or a long impatient yawn, testi- 
fied any emotion at his confinement, or at the crowd which 
honoured him with their presence. 

" I have seen no fiercer beast than yon lion even in the 
amphitheatre of Rome," said a gigantic and sinewy fellow 
who stood at the right hand of Sosia. 

" I feel humbled when I look at his limbs," replied, at 
the left of Sosia, a slighter and younger figure, with his 
arms folded on his breast. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 855 

The slave looked first at one, and then at the other* 
" Virtus in medio I — virtue is ever in the middle ! " mat- 
tered he to himself ; " a goodly neighbourhood for thee, 
Sosia — a gladiator on each side ! " 

" That is well said, Lydon," returned the huger gladiator ; 
" I feel the same." 

"And to think," observed Lydon, in a tone of deep 
feeling, " to think that the noble Greek, he whom we saw 
bnt a day or two since before us, so full of yonth, and 
health, and joyonsness, is to feast yon monster ! " 

"Why not?" growled Niger, savagely; "many an 
honest gladiator has been compelled to a like combat by 
the emperor — why not a wealthy murderer by the law ? " 

Lydon sighed, shrugged his shoulders, and remained 
silent. Meanwhile the common gazers listened with 
staring eyes and lips apart : the gladiators were objects of 
interest as well as the beasts — they were animals of the 
same species ; so the crowd glanced from one to the other 
— the men and the brutes : — whispering their comments 
and anticipating the morrow. 

" Well ! " said Lydon, turning away, " I thank the 
gods that it is not the Hon or the tiger I am to contend 
with; even you, Niger, are a gentler combatant than 
they." 

"Bnt equally dangerous," said the gladiator, with a 
fierce laugh ; and the bystanders, admiring his vast limbs 
and ferocious countenance, laughed too. 

" That as it may be," answered Lydon, carelessly, as he 
pressed through the throng and quitted the den. 

"I may as well take advantage of his shoulders," 
thought the prudent Sosia, hastening to follow him : " the 
crowd always give way to a gladiator, so I will keep close 
behind, and come in for a share of his consequence." 

The son of Medon strode quickly through the mob, many 
of whom recognised his features and profession. 

"That is young Lydon, a brave fellow; he fights to- 
morrow," said one. 

" Ah ! I have a bet on him," said another ; " see how 
firmly he walks! " 

" Good luck to thee, Lydon ! " said a third. 

" Lydon, yon have my wishes," half whispered a fourth, 
smiling (a comely woman of the middle class) — " and if 
yon win, why, yon may hear more of me." 

44) 



856 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" A handsome man, by Venus ! " cried a fifth, who was 
a girl scarce in her teens. " Thank yon," returned Sosia, 
gravely taking the compliment to himself. 

However strong the purer motives of Lydon, and certain 
though it be that he would never have entered so bloody a 
calling bat from the hope of obtaining his father's freedom, 
he was not altogether unmoved by the notice he excited. 
He forgot that the voices now raised in commendation 
might, on the morrow, shout over his death-pangs. By 
nature fierce and reckless, as well as generous and warm- 
hearted, he was already imbued with the pride of a pro- 
fession that he fancied ho disdained, and affected by the 
influence of a companionship that in reality he loathed. 
He saw himself now a man of importance ; his step grew 
yet lighter, and his mien more elate. 

" Niger,' ' said he, turning suddenly, as he had now 
threaded the crowd ; "we have often quarrelled ; we are 
not matched against each other, but one of us, at least, 
may reasonably expect to fall — give us thy hand." 

" Most readily," said Sosia, extending his palm. 

" Ha ! what fool is this ? Why, I thought Niger was at 
my heels ! " 

" I forgive the mistake," replied Sosia, condescendingly : 
" don't mention it ; tho error was. easy — I and Niger are 
somewhat of tho same build." 

" Ha ! ha ! that is excellent ! Niger would have slit thy 
throat had he heard thee ! " 

" You gentlemen of tho arena have a most disagreeable 
mode of talking," said Sosia : " let us change the conver- 
sation." 

" Vah ! vah ! " said Lydon, impatiently ; " I am in no 
humour to converse with thee ! " 

"Why, truly," returned the slave, "you must have 
serious thoughts enough to occupy your mind : to-morrow 
is, I think, your first essay in the arena. Well, I am sure 
you will die bravely ! " 

" May thy words fall on thine own head ! " said Lydon, 
superstitiously, for he by no means liked the blessing of 
Sosia. " Die I No — I trust my hour is not yet come." 

" He who plays at dice with death must expect the dog's 
throw," replied Sosia, maliciously. " But you are a strong 
fellow, and I wish you all imaginable luck; and so, 
vah ! " 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 857 

With that the slave turned on his heel, and took his way 
homeward. 

" I trust the rogue's words are not ominous," said 
Lydon, musingly. " In my zeal for my father's liberty, 
and my confidence in my own thews and sinews, I have not 
contemplated the possibility of death. My poor father ! I 
am thy only son ! — if I were to fall " 

As the thought crossed him, the gladiator strode on with 
a more rapid and restless pace, when suddenly, in an oppo- 
site street, he beheld the very object of his thoughts. 
Leaning on his stick, his form bent by care and age, his 
eyes downcast, and his steps trembling, the grey-haired 
Medon slowly approached towards the gladiator. Lydon 
paused a moment: he divined at once the cause that 
brought forth the old man at that late hour. 

" Be sure, it is I whom he seeks," thought he ; " he is 
horror-struck at the condemnation of Olinthus — he more 
than ever esteems the arena criminal and hateful — he 
comes again to dissuade me from the contest. I must shun 
him — I cannot brook his prayers — his tears." 

These thoughts, so long to recite, flashed across the 
young man like lightning. He turned abruptly and fled 
swiftly in an opposite direction. He paused not till, almost 
spent and breathless, he found himself on the summit of a 
small acclivity which overlooked the most gay and splendid 
part of that miniature city ; and as there he paused, and 
gazed along the tranquil streets glittering in the rays of 
the moon (which had jast arisen, and brought partially 
and picturesquely into light the crowd around the amphi- 
theatre at a distance, murmuring, and swaying to and fro), 
the influence of the scene affected him, rude and unimagi- 
native though his nature. He sat himself down to rest 
upon the steps of a deserted portico, and felt the calm of 
the hour quiet and restore him. Opposite and near at 
hand, the lights gleamed from a palace in which the 
master now held his revels. The doors were open for 
coolness, and the gladiator beheld the numerous and 
festive group gathered round the tables in the atrium ; * 
while behind them, closing the long vista of the illumined 
rooms beyond, the spray of the distant fountain sparkled in 
the moonbeams. There, the garlands wreathed around the 

• In the atrimm, as I have elsewhere ohscrrcd, a larger party of guests 
than ordinary was frequently entertained. 



858 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

columns of the hall — there, gleamed still and frequent the 
marble statue — there, amidst peals of jocund laughter, rose 
the music and the lay. 

EPICUREAN SONG. 

11 Away with your stories of Hades, 

Which the Flamen has forged to affright us,— 
We laugh at your three Maiden Ladies, 
Tour Fates,— and your sullen Cocytus. 

Poor Jove has a troublesome life, sir, 
Could we credit your tales of his portals— 

In shutting his ears on his wife, sir. 
And opening his eyes upon mortals. 

Oh/blest be the bright Epicurus ! 

Who taught us to laugh at such fables; 
On Hades they wanted to moor us, 

And his hand cut the terrible cables. 

If, then, there's a Jove or a Juno, 
They vex not their heads about us, man; 

Besides, if they did, I and you know 
'Tis the life of a god to live thus y man ! 

What ! think you the gods place their bliss— eh ?— 

In playing the spy on a sinner ? 
In counting the girls that we kiss, eh ? 

Or the cups that we empty at dinner ? 

Content with the soft lips that love us, 
This music, this wine, and this mirth, boys, 

We care not for gods up above us, — 
We know there's no god for this earth, boys ! " 

While Lydon's piety (which, accommodating as it might 
be, was in no slight degree disturbed by these verses, which 
embodied the fashionable philosophy of the day) slowly 
recovered itself from the shock it had received, a small 
party of men, in plain garments and of the middle class, 
passed by his resting-place. They were in earnest conver- 
sation, and did not seem to notice or heed the gladiator as 
they moved on. 

" O horror on horrors ! " said one ; " Olinthus is snatched 
from us ! our right arm is lopped away ! When will Christ 
descend to protect his own ? " 

" Can human atrocity go farther ? " said another : " to 
sentence an innocent man to the same arena as a mur- 
derer ! But let us not despair ; the thunder of Sinai may 
yet be heard, and the Lord preserve his saint. ' The fool 
has said in his heart, There is no God.' " 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 359 

At that moment out broke again, from the illumined 
palace, the burden of the reveller's song :— 

" We care not for gods up above uSj — 

We know there's no god for this earth, boyB ! " • 

Ere the words died away, the Nazarenes, moved by 
sudden indignation, caught up the echo, and, in the words 
of one of their favourite hymns, shouted aloud — 

THE WABNING HYMN OF THE NAZABENES. 

•' Around—about — for ever near thee, 
God — otra God— shall mark and hear thee ! 
On his car of storm He sweeps ! 
Bow, ye heavens, and shrink, ye deeps ! 
Woe to the proud ones who defy Him !— 
Woe to the dreamers who deny Him ! 

Woe to the wicked, woe! 
The proud stars shall fail — 
The sun shall grow pale — 
The heavens shrivel up like a scroll- 
Hell's ocean shall bare 
Its depths of despair, 
Each wave an eternal soul ! 
For the only thing, then, 
That shall not live again 

Is the corpse of the giant Time. 
Hark, the trumpet of thunder ! 
Lo, earth rent asunder ! 
And, forth, on his Angel-throne, 
II e comes through the gloomy 
The Judge of the Tomb, 
To summon and save His own ! 

Oh, joy to Care, and woe to Crime, 
He comes to save His own ! 
Woe to the proud ones who defy Him ! 
Woe to the dreamers who deny Him ! 

Woo to tho wicked, woe ! " 

A sudden silence from the startled hall of revel suc- 
ceeded these ominous words : the Christians swept on, and 
were soon hidden from tho sight of the gladiator. Awed, 
he scarce knew why, by the mystic denunciations of the 
Christians, Lydon, after a short pause, now rose to pursue 
his way homeward. 

Before him, how serenely slept the starlight on that 
lovely city ! how breathlessly its pillared streets reposed 
in their security ! — how softly rippled the dark-green 
waves beyond ! — how cloudless spread, aloft and blue, the 

* See noto (a) at the end. 



860 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

dreaming Campanian skies ! Yet this was the last night 
for the gay Pompeii ! the colony of the hoar Chaldean ! 
the fabled city of Hercules ! the delight of the voluptuous 
Roman ! Age after age had rolled, indestructive, un- 
heeded, over its head ; and now the last ray quivered on 
the dial-plate of its doom! The gladiator heard some 
light steps behind — a group of females were wending 
homeward from their visit to the amphitheatre. As he 
turned, his eye was arrested by a strange and sudden 
apparition. From the summit of Vesuvius, darkly visible 
at the distance, there shot a pale, meteoric, livid light — it 
trembled an instant and was gone. And at the same 
moment that his eye caught it, the voice of one of the 
youngest of the women broke out hilariously and shrill : — 

" Tramp ! Tramp ! how gaily they go ! 
ho, ho ! fob thb mobbow's mxbby show j " 




THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIL 861 



BOOK V. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE DREAM OF ARBACES. — A VISITOR AND A WARNING TO THE 

EGYPTIAN. 

The awful night preceding the fierce joy of the amphi- 
theatre rolled drearily away, and greyly broke forth tho 
dawn of the last day of Pompeii ! The air was un- 
commonly calm and sultry — a thin and dull mist gathered 
over the valleys and hollows of the broad Campanian 
fields. But yet it was remarked in surprise by the early 
fishermen, that, despite the exceeding stillness of the 
atmosphere, the waves of the sea were agitated, and 
seemed, as it were, to run disturbedly back from the shore ; 
while along, the blue and stately Sarnus, whose ancient 
breadth of channel tho traveller now vainly seeks to dis- 
cover, there crept a hoarse and sullen murmur, as it glided 
by the laughing plains and the gaudy villas of the wealthy 
citizens. Clear above the low mist rose the time-worn 
towers of the immemorial town, tho red-tiled roofs of the 
bright streets, the solemn columns of many temples, and 
the statue-crowned portals of the Forum and the Arch of 
Triumph. Far in the distance, the outline of the circling 
hills soared above the vapours, and mingled with the 
changeful hues of the morning sky. The cloud that had 
so long rested over the crest of Vesuvius had suddenly 
vanished, and its rugged and haughty brow looked without 
a frown over the beautiful scenes below. 

Despite the earliness of the hour, the gates of the city 
were already opened. Horsemen upon horsemen, vehicle 
after vehicle, poured rapidly in ; and tho voices of numerous 
pedestrian groups, clad in holiday attire, roso high in 
joyous and excited merriment ; the streets were crowded 
with citizens and strangers from the populous neighbour- 
hood of Pompeii; and noisily — fast — confusedly swept 
the many streams of life towards the fatal show. 



862 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

Despite the vast size of the amphitheatre, seemingly so 
disproportioned to the extent of the city, and formed to 
include nearly the whole population of Pompeii itself, so 
great, on extraordinary occasions, was the concourse of 
strangers from all parts of Campania, that the space 
before it was usually crowded for several hours previous to 
the commencement of the sports, by such persons as were 
not entitled by their rank to appointed and special seats. 
And the intense curiosity which the trial and sentence of 
two criminals so remarkable had occasioned, increased the 
crowd on this day to an extent wholly unprecedented. 

While the common people, with the lively vehemence of 
their Campanian blood, were thus pushing, scrambling, 
hurrying on,— yet, amidst all their eagerness, preserving, 
as is now the wont with Italians in such meetings, a 
wonderful order and unquarrclsome good-humour, a strange 
visitor to Avbaces was threading her way to his sequestered 
mansion. At the sight of her quaint and primaeval garb— 
of her wild gait and gestures — the passengers she encdnn- 
tered touched each other and smiled ; but as they caught a 
glimpse of her countenanee, the mirth was hushed at once, 
for the face was as the face of the dead ; and, what with 
the ghastly features and obsolete robes of. the stranger, it 
seemed as if one long entombed had risen once moro 
amongst the living. In silence and awe each group gave 
way as she passed along, and she soon gained the broad 
porch of the Egyptian's palace. 

The black porter, like the rest of the world, astir at an 
unusual hour, started as he opened the door to her 
summons. 

Tho sleep of the Egyptian had been unusually profound 
during the night ; but, as tho dawn approached, it was 
disturbed by strange and unquiet dreams, which impressed 
him the more as they were coloured by the peculiar phi- 
losophy he embraced. 

He thought that ho was transported to the bowels of tho 
earth, and that he stood alone in a mighty cavern, sup- 
ported by enormous columns of rough and primaeval 
rock, lost, as they ascended, in the vastness of a shadow 
athwart whose eternal darkness no beam of day had ever 
glanced. And in the space Jaetween these columns were 
huge wheels, that whirled round and round unceasingly, 
and with a rushing and roaring noise. Only to tho right 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 863 

and left extremities of the cavern, the space between the 
pillars was left bare, and the apertures stretched away 
into galleries — not wholly dark, but dimly lighted by 
wandering and erratic fires, that, meteor-like, now crept 
(as the snake creeps) along the rugged and dank soil ; and 
now leaped fiercely to and fro, darting across the vast 
gloom in wild gambols — suddenly disappearing, and as 
suddenly bursting into tenfold brilliancy and power. 
And while he gazed wonderingly upon the gallery to the 
left, thin, mist-like, aerial shapes passed slowly up ; and 
when they had gained the hall they seemed to rise aloft, 
and to vanish, as the smoke vanishes, in the measureless 
ascent. 

He turned in fear towards the opposite extremity — and 
behold ! there came swiftly, from the gloom above, similar 
shadows, which swept hurriedly along the gallery to the 
right, as if borne involuntarily adown the tides of some 
invisible stream ; and the faces of these spectres were more 
distinct than those that emerged from the opposite passage ; 
and on some was joy, and on others sorrow — some were 
▼ivid with expectation and hope, some unutterably de- 
jected by awe and horror. Aid so they passed, swift 
and constantly on, till the eyes of the gazer grew 
dizzy and blinded with the whirl of an ever-varying 
succession of things impelled by a power apparently not 
their own. 

Axbaces turned away, and, in the recess of the hall, he 
saw the mighty form of a giantess seated upon a pile of 
skulls, and her hands were busy upon a pale and shadowy 
woof ; and he saw that the woof communicated with the 
numberless wheels, as if it guided the machinery of their 
movements. He thought his feet, by some secret agency, 
were impelled towards the female, and that he was borne 
onwards till ho stood before her, face to face. Tho coun- 
tenance of the giantess was solemn and hushed, and beauti- 
fully serene. It was as the face of some colossal sculpture 
of his own ancestral sphinx. No passion — no human 
emotion, disturbed its brooding and unwrinkled brow : 
there was neither sadness, nor joy, nor memory, nor hope : 
it was free from all with which the wild human heart can 
sympathise. The mystery of mysteries rested on its 
beauty, — it awed, but terrified not : it was the Incarnation 
of the Sublime. And Arbaces felt the voice leave his 



364 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEH. 

lips, without an impulse of his own ; and the voice 
asked — 

44 Who art thou, and what is thy task ? " 

" I am That which thon hast acknowledged," answered, 
without desisting from its work, the mighty phantom. 
'* My name is Nature ! These are the wheels of the 
world, and my hand guides them for the life of all 
things." 

" And what," said the voice of Arbaces, " are these gal- 
leries, that, strangely and fitfully illumined, stretch on 
either hand into the abyss of gloom ? " 

" That," answered the giant-mother, " which thon be- 
holdest to the left, is the gallery of the Unborn. The 
shadows that flit onward and upward into the world, are 
the souls that pass from the long eternity of being to their 
destined pilgrimage on earth. That which thon beholdest 
to thy right, wherein the shadows descending from above 
sweep on, equally unknown and dim, is the gallery of the 
Dead ! " 

"And, wherefore," said the voice of Arbaces, "yon 
wandering lights, that so wildly break the darkness ; but 
only break, not reveal ? " 

" Dark fool of the human sciences ! dreamer of the 
stars, and would-be decipherer of the heart and origin of 
things ! those lights are but the glimmerings of such 
knowledge as is vouchsafed to Nature to work her way, to 
trace enough of the past and future to give providence to 
her designs. Judge, then, puppet as thou art, what lights 
are reserved for thee ! " 

Arbaces felt himself tremble as he asked again, "Where- 
fore am I here ? " 

" It is the forecast of thy soul — the prescience of thy 
rushing doom — the shadow of thy fate lengthening into 
eternity as it declines from earth." 

Ere ho could answer, Arbaces felt a rushing wind sweep 
down the cavern, as the winds of a giant god. Borne aloft 
from the . ground, and whirled on high as a leaf in the 
storms of autumn, he beheld himself in the midst of the 
Spectres of the Dead, and hurrying with them along the 
length of gloom. As in vain and impotent despair he 
struggled against the impelling power, he thought the 
wind grew into something like a shape — a spectral outline 
of the wings and talons of an eagle, with limbs floating 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 865 

far and indistinctly along the air, and eyes that, alone 
clearly and vividly seen, glared stonily and remorselessly 
on his own. 

" What art thou ? " again said the voice of the 
Egyptian. 

" 1 am That which thou hast acknowledged ; " and the 
spectre laughed aloud — " and my name is Necessity." 

" To what dost thou bear me?" 

" To the Unknown." 

" To happiness or to woe ? " 

" As thou hast sown, so shalt thou reap." 

" Dread thing, not so ! If thou art the Ruler of Life, 
thine are my misdeeds, not mine." 

" I am but the breath of God ! " answered the mighty 
wind. 

" Then is my wisdom vain ! " groaned the dreamer. 

" The husbandman accuses not fate, when, having sown 
thistles, he reaps not corn. Thou hast sown crime, accuse 
not fate if thou reapest not the harvest of virtue." 

The scene suddenly changed. Arbaces was in a place 
of human bones ; and lo ! in the midst of them was a 
skull, and the skull, still retaining its fleshless hollows, 
assumed slowly, and in the mysterious confusion of a 
dream, the face of Apascides ; and forth from the grinning 
jaws there crept a small worm, and it crawled to the feet 
of Arbaces. He attempted to stamp on it and crush it ; 
but it became longer and larger with that attempt. It 
swelled and bloated till it grew into a vast serpent : it 
coiled itself round the limbs of Arbaces ; it crunched his 
bones ; it raised its glaring eyes and poisonous jaws to his 
face. He writhed in vain; he withered — he gasped — 
beneath the influence of the blighting breath — he felt him- 
self blasted into death. And then a voice came from the 
reptile, which still bore the face of Apcecides, and rang in 
his reeling ear, — 

" Thy victim is thy judge ! the woem thou wouldst 

CRUSH BECOMES THE SERPENT THAT DEVOURS THEE ! " 

With a shriek of wrath, and woe, and despairing resist- 
ance, Arbaces awoke — his hair on end — his brow bathed 
in dew — his eyes glazed and staring — his mighty frame 
quivering as an infant's, beneath the agony of that dream. 
Ho awoke — he collected himself — he blessed the gods 
whom he disbelieved, that he was in a dream ; — he turned 



fc 



866 THE LAST DAYS QP POMPEIL 

his eyes from side to side — he saw the dawningStight break 
through his small but lofty window — he was in the Pre- 
cincts of Day — he rejoiced — he smiled ; — his eyes fell, and 
opposite to him he beheld the ghastly features, the lifeless 
eye, the livid lip — of the hag of Vesuvius ! 

" Ha ! " he cried, placing his hands before his eyes, as 
to shut out the grisly vision, "do I dream still? — Am I 
with the dead ? " 

" Mighty Hermes — no ! Thou art with one death-like, 
but not dead. Recognise thy friend and slave." 

There was a long silence. Slowly the shudders that 
passed over the limbs of the Egyptian chased each other 
away, f aintlier and faintlier dying till he was himself again. 
" It was a dream, then," said he. "Well — let me dream 
no more, or the day cannot compensate for the pangs of 
night. Woman, how earnest thou here, and wherefore ? " 
"I came to warn thee," answered the sepulchral voice 
of the saga. 

" Warn me ! The dream lied not, then ? Of what 
peril?;' 

' * Listen to me. Some evil hangs over this fated city. 
Fly while it be time. Thou knowest that I hold my home 
onthat mountain beneath which old tradition saith there 
yet burn the fires of the river of Phlegethon ; and in my 
cavern is a vast abyss, and in that abyss I have of late 
marked a red and dull stream creep slowly, slowly on ; and 
heard many and mighty sounds hissing and roaring 
through the gloom. But last night, as I looked thereon, 
behold the stream was no longer dull, but intensely and 
fiercely luminous ; and while I gazed, the beast that liveth 
with me, and was cowering by my Bide, uttered a shrill 
howl, and fell down and died,* and the slaver and froth 
were round his lips. I crept back to my lair ; but I dis- 
tinctly heard, all the night, the rock shake and tremble ; 
and, though the air was heavy and still, there were the 
hissing of pent winds, and the grinding as of wheels, 
beneath the ground. So, when I rose this morning at the 
very birth of dawn, I looked again down the abyss, and I 
saw vast fragments of stone borne black and floatingly 
over the lurid stream ; and the stream itself was broader, 
fiercer, redder than the night before. Then I went forth, 

* We may suppose that the exhalations were similar in effect to those of 
the Orotta del Cane. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 367 

and ascended to the summit of the rock : and in that sum- 
mit there appeared a sudden and vast hollow, which I had 
never perceived before, from which curled a dim, faint 
smoke ; and the vapour was deathly, and I gasped, and 
sickened, and nearly died. I returned home. I took my 
gold and my drugs, and left the habitation of many years ; 
for I remembered the dark Etruscan prophecy which 
saith, * When the mountain opens, the city shall fall — when 
the smoke crowns the Hill of the Parched Fields, there 
shall be woe and weeping in the hearths of the Children 
of the Sea.' Dread master, ere I leave these walls for 
some more distant dwelling, I come to thee. As thou 
livest, know I in my heart that the earthquake that six- 
teen years ago shook this city to its solid base, was but the 
forerunner of more deadly doom. The walls of Pompeii 
are built above the fields of the Dead, and the rivers of 
the sleepless Hell. Be warned and fly ! " 

" Witch, I thank thee for thy care of one not ungrateful. 
On yon table stands a cup of gold ; take it, it is thine. I 
dreamt not that there lived one, out of the priesthood of 
I8i8, who would have saved Arbaces from destruction. 
The signs thou hast seen in the bed of the extinct volcano," 
continued the Egyptian, musingly, "surely tell of some 
coming danger to the city; perhaps another earthquake 
fiercer than the last. Be that as it may, there is a new 
reason for my hastening from these walls. After this day 
I will prepare my departure. Daughter of Etruria, 
whither wendest thou ? " 

" I shall cross over to Herculaneum this day, and, wan- 
dering thence along the coast, shall seek out a new home. 
1 am friendless: my two companions, the fox and the 
snake, are dead. Great Hermes, thou hast promised me 
twenty additional years of life ! " 

" Ay," said the Egyptian, " I have promised thee. But, 
woman," he added, lifting himself upon his arm, and 
gazing curiously on her face, " tell me, 1 pray thee, where- 
fore thou wishest to live ? What sweets dost thou dis- 
cover in existence ? " 

" It is not life that is sweet, but death that is awful," 
replied the hag, in a sharp, impressive tone, that struck 
forcibly upon the heart of the vain star-seer. He winced 
at the truth of the reply ; and, no longer anxious to retain 
so uninviting a companion, he said, " Time wanes ; I must 



868 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

prepare for the solemn spectacle of this day. Sister, fare- 
well ! enjoy thyself as thou canst over the ashes of life." 

The hag, who had placed the costly gift of Arbaces in 
the loose folds of her vest, now rose to depart. When she 
had gained the door she paused, turned back, and said, 
"This may be the last time we meet on earth; but 
whither flieth the flame when it leaves the ashes ? — Wan- 
dering to and fro, up and down, as an exhalation on the 
morass, the flame may be seen in the marshes of the lake 
below ; and the witch and the Magian, the pupil and the 
master, the great one and the accursed one, may meet 
again. Farewell ! " 

" Out, croker ! " muttered Arbaces, as the door closed 
on the hag's tattered robes; and, impatient of his own 
thoughts, not yet recovered from the past dream, he 
hastily summoned his slaves. 

It was the custom to attend the ceremonials of the 
amphitheatre in festive robes, and Arbaces arrayed him- 
self that day with more than usual care. His tunic was 
of the most dazzling white ; his many fibulas were formed 
from the most precious stones: over his tunic flowed a 
loose eastern robe, half-gown, half -mantle, glowing in the 
richest hues of the Tyrian dye; and the sandals, that 
reached half way up the knee, were studded with gems, 
and inlaid with gold. In the quackeries that belonged to 
his priestly genius, Arbaces never neglected, on great oc- 
casions, the arts which dazzle and impose upon the vulgar ; 
and on this day, that was for ever to release him, by the 
sacrifice of Glaucus, from the fear of a rival and the 
chance of detection, he felt that he was arraying himself 
as for a triumph or a nuptial feast. 

It was customary for men of rank to bo accompanied 
to the shows of the amphitheatre by a procession of 
their slaves and freedmen ; and the long " family " of 
Arbaces were already arranged in order, to attend the 
litter of their lord. 

Only, to their great chagrin, the slaves in attendance on 
lone, and the worthy Sosia, as gaoler to Nydia, were con- 
demned to remain at home. 

" Callias," said Arbaces, apart to his freedman, who was 
buckling on his girdle, " I am weary of Pompeii ; I pro- 
pose to quit it in three days, should the wind favour. 
Thou knowest the vessel that lies in the harbour which 



*HE LAST DAYS OF POMPEtt. 369 

belonged lb Narses, of Alexandria ; I have purchased it of 
him. The day after to-morrow we shall begin to remove 
my stores." 

" So soon ! 'Tis well. Arbaces shall be obeyed ; — and 
his ward, lone ? " 

" Accompanies me. Enough ! — is the morning fair ? " 

" Dim and oppressive ; it will probably be intensely hot 
in the forenoon." 

" The poor gladiators, and more wretched criminals ! 
Descend, and see that the slaves are marshalled." 

Left alone, Arbaces stepped into his chamber of study, 
and thence upon the portico without. He saw the dense 
masses of men pouring fast into the amphitheatre, and 
heard the cry of the assistants, and the cracking of the 
cordage, as they were straining aloft the huge awning 
under which the citizens, molested by no discomforting 
ray, were to behold, at luxurious ease, the agonies of their 
fellow creatures. Suddenly a wild, strange sound went 
forth, and as suddenly died away — it was the roar of the 
lion. There was a silence in the distant crowd ; but the 
silence was followed by joyous laughter — they were making 
merry at the hungry impatience of the royal beast. 

"Brutes!" muttered the disdainful Arbaces, "are ye 
less homicides than I am ? I slay but in self-defence — ye 
make murder pastime." 

He turned, with a restless and curious eye, towards 
Vesuvius. Beautifully glowed the green vineyards round 
its breast, and tranquil as eternity lay in the breathless 
skies the form of the mighty hill. 

"We have timo yet, if the earthquake be nursing," 
thought Arbaces; and he turned from the spot. He 
passed by the table which bore his mystic scrolls and 
Chaldean calculations. 

"August art ! " he thought, "I have not consulted thy 
decrees since I passed the danger and the crisis they fore- 
told. What matter ? — I know that henceforth all in my 
path is bright and smooth. Have not events already 
proved it ? Away, doubt — away, pity ! Reflect, O my 
heart — reflect, for the future, but two images — Empire 
and lone ! " 



BD 



870 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE AMPHITHEATRE. 

Nydia, assured by the account of Sosia, on his return 
home, and satisfied that her letter was in the hands of 
Sallust, gave herself up once more to hope. Sallnst would 
surely lose no time in seeking the prestor — in coming to 
the house of the Egyptian — in releasing heir — in breaking 
the prison of Calenus. That very night Glaucus would be 
free. Alas ! the night passed — the dawn broke ; she heard 
nothing but the hurried footsteps of the slaves along the 
hall and peristyle, and their voices in preparation for the 
show. By-and-by, the commanding voice of Arbaces broke 
on her ear — a flourish of music rung out cheerily : the long 
procession were sweeping to the amphitheatre to glut their 
eyes on the death-pangs of the Athenian ! 

The procession of Arbaces moved along slowly, and with 
much solemnity, till now, arriving at the place where it 
was necessary for such as came in litters or chariots to 
alight, Arbaces descended from his vehicle, and proceeded 
to the entrance by which the more distinguished spectators 
were admitted. His slaves, mingling with the humbler 
crowd, were stationed by officers who received their tickets 
(not much unlike our modern Opera ones), in places in the 
popularia (the seats apportioned to the vulgar). And now, 
from the spot where Arbaces sat, his eyes scanned the 
mighty and impatient crowd that filled the stupendous 
theatre. 

On the upper tier (but apart from the male spectators) 
sat the women, their gay dresses resembling some gaudy 
flower-bed ; it is needless to add that they were the most 
talkative part of the assembly ; and many were the looks 
directed up to them, especially from the benches appro- 
priated to the young and the unmarried men. On the 
lower seats round the arena sat the more high-born and 
wealthy visitors — the magistrates and those of senatorial 
or equestrian* dignity: the passages which, by corridors 
at the right and left, gave access to these seats, at either 

• The equites sat immediately behind the senators. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 371 

end of the oval arena, were also the entrances for the com- 
batants. Strong palings at these passages prevented any 
unwelcome eccentricity in the movements of the beasts, 
and confined them to their appointed prey. Around the 
parapet which was raised above the arena, and from which 
the seats gradually rose, were gladiatorial inscriptions, and 
paintings wrought in fresco, typical of the entertainments 
for which the place was designed. Throughout the whole 
building wound invisible pipes, from which, as the day 
advanced, cooling and fragrant showers were to be sprinkled 
over the spectators. The officers of the amphitheatre were 
still employed in the task of fixing the vast awning (or 
Valeria) which covered the whole, and which luxurious 
invention the Campanians arrogated to themselves : it was 
woven of the whitest Apulian wool, and variegated with 
broad stripes of crimson. Owing either to some inex- 
perience on the part of the workmen, or to some defect in 
the machinery, the awning, however, was not arranged 
that day so happily as usual ; indeed, from, the immense 
space of the circumference, the task was always one of 
great difficulty and art — so much so, that it could seldom 
be adventured in rough or windy weather. But the present 
day was so remarkably still that there seemed to the spec- 
tators no excuse for the awkwardness of the artificers ; 
and when a large gap in the back of the awning was still 
visible, from the obstinate refusal of one part of the Valeria 
to ally itself with the rest, the murmurs of discontent were 
loud and general. 

The aedile Pansa, at whose expense the exhibition was 
given, looked particularly annoyed at the defect, and vowed 
bitter vengeance on the head of the chief officer of the 
show, who, fretting, puffing, perspiring, busied himself in 
idle orders and unavailing threats. 

The hubbub ceased suddenly — the operators desisted— 
the crowd were stilled — the gap was forgotten — for now, 
with a loud and warlike flourish of trumpets, the gladiators, 
marshalled in ceremonious procession, entered the arena. 
They swept round the oval space very slowly and de- 
liberately, in order to give the spectators full leisure to 
admire their stern serenity of feature — their brawny limbs 
and various arms, as well as to form such wagers as the 
excitement of the moment might suggest. 

" Oh ! " cried the widow Fulvia to the wife of Pansa, as 

B b 2 



872 THE LAST BAYS OF POMPEIL 

they leaned down from their lofty bench, " do you see that 
gigantic gladiator ? how drolly he is dressed ! " 

" Yes," said the raffle's wife, with complacent importance, 
for she knew all the names and qualities of each combatant ; 
" he is a retiarius or netter ; he is armed only, you see, 
with a three-pronged spear like a trident, and a net ; he 
wears no armour, only the fillet and the tunic. He is a 
mighty man, and is to fight with Sporus, yon thick-set 
gladiator, with the round shield and drawn sword, but 
without body armour ; he has not his helmet on now, in 
order that you may see his face — how fearless it is ! — by- 
and-by he will fight with his vizor down." 

"But surely a net and a spear are poor arms against a 
shield and sword r 

" That shows how innocent you are, my dear Fulvia ; 
the retiarius has generally the best of it." 

" But who is yon handsome gladiator, nearly naked — is 
it not quite improper? By Venus ! r but his limbs are 
beautifully shaped ! " 

" It is Lydon, a young untried man ! he has the rashness 
to fight yon other gladiator similarly dressed, or rather 
undressed — Tetraides. They fight first in the Greek 
fashion, with the cestus ; afterwards they put on armour, 
and try sword and shield." 

" He is a proper man, this Lydon ; and the women, I am 
sure, are on his side." 

" So are not the experienced betters ; Clodius offers 
three to one against him." 

"Oh, Jove! how beautiful! " exclaimed the widow, as 
two gladiators, armed cap-d-pie, rode round the arena on 
light and prancing steeds. Resembling much the com- 
bitants in the tilts of the middle age, they bore lances and 
round shields beautifully inlaid : their armour was woven 
intricately with bands of iron, but it covered only the 
thighs and the right arms ; short cloaks, extending to the 
seat, gave a picturesque and graceful air to their costume ; 
their legs were naked, with the exception of sandals, which 
were fastened a little above the ankle. " Oh, beautiful ! 
Who arc these ? " asked the widow. 

" The one is named Berbix — he has conquered twelve 
times ; the other assumes the arrogant name of Nobilior. 
They are both Gauls." 

While thus conversing, the first formalities of the show 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 373 

were oyer. To these succeeded a feigned combat with 
wooden swords between the various gladiators matched 
against each other. Amongst these, the skill of two 
Roman gladiators, hired for the occasion, was the most 
admired ; and next to them the most graceful combatant 
was Lydon. This sham contest did not last above an hour, 
nor did it attract any very lively interest, except among 
those connoisseurs of the arena to whom art was preferable 
to more coarse excitement ; the body of the spectators were 
rejoiced when it was over, and when the sympathy rose to 
terror. The combatants were now arranged in pairs, as 
agreed beforehand ; their weapons examined ; and the 
grave sports of the day commenced amidst the deepest 
silence — broken only by an exciting and preliminary blast 
of warlike music. 

It was often customary to begin the sports by the most 
cruel of all, and some bestiarius, or gladiator appointed to 
the beasts, was slain first, as an initiatory sacrifice. But in 
the present instance, the experienced Pansa thought it 
better that the sanguinary drama should advance, not 
decrease, in interest; and, accordingly, the execution of 
Oliuthus and Glaucus was reserved for the last. It was 
arranged that the two horsemen should first occupy the 
arena ; that the foot gladiators, paired off, should then be 
loosed indiscriminately on the stage ; that Glaucus and the 
lion should next perform their part in the bloody spectacle ; 
and the tiger and the Nazarine be the grand finale. And, 
in the spectacles of Pompeii, the reader of Roman history 
must limit his imagination, nor expect to find those vast 
and wholesale exhibitions of magnificent slaughter with 
which a Nero or a Caligula regaled the inhabitants of the 
Imperial City. The Roman shows, which absorbed the 
more celebrated gladiators, and the chief proportion of 
foreign beasts, were indeed the very reason why, in the 
lesser towns of the empire, the sports of the amphitheatre 
were comparatively humane and rare ; and in this, as in 
other respects, Pompeii was but the miniature, the 
microcosm of Rome. Still, it was an awful and im- 
posing spectacle, with which modern times have, happily, 
nothing to compare : — a vast theatre, rising row upon row, 
and swarming with human beings, from fifteen to eighteen 
thousand in number, intent upon no fictitious representa- 
tion — no tragedy of the stage — but the actual victory or 



874 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

defeat, the exultant life or the bloody death, of each and 
all who entered the arena ! 

The two horsemen were now at either extremity of the 
lists (if so they might be called) ; and, at a given signal 
from Pansa, the combatants started simultaneously as in 
full collision, each advancing his round buckler, each 
poising on high his light yet sturdy javelin ; but just when 
within three paces of his opponent, the steed of Berbix 
suddenly lialted, wheeled round, and, as Nobilior was borne 
rapidly by, his antagonist spurred upon him. The buckler 
of Nobilior, quickly and skilfully extended, received a blow 
which otherwise would have been fatal. 

" Well done, Nobilior ! " cried the praetor, giving the 
first vent to the popular excitement. 

"Bravely struck, my Berbix! " auswered Clodius from 
his seat. 

And the wild murmur, swelled by many a shout, echoed 
from side to side. 

The vizors of both the horsemen were completely closed 
(like those of the knights in after times), but the head 
was, nevertheless, the great point of assault ; and Nobilior, 
now wheeling his charger with no less adroitness than his 
opponent, directed his spear full on the helmet of his foe. 
Berbix raised his buckler to shield himself, and his quick- 
eyed antagonist, suddenly lowering his weapon, pierced 
him through the breast. Berbix reeled and fell. 

" Nobilior ! Nobilior ! " shouted the populace. 

" I have lost ten sestertia,"* said Clodius, between his 
teeth. 

" Habetf — he has it," said Pansa, deliberately. 

The populace, not yet hardened into cruelty, made the 
signal of mercy ; but as the attendants of the arena ap- 
proached, they found the kindness came too late; — the 
heart of tho Gaul had been pierced, and his eyes were set 
in death. It was his life's blood that flowed so darkly 
over the sand and sawdust of the arena. 

" It is a pity it was so soon over — there was little enough 
for one's trouble," said the widow Fulvia. 

" Yes — I have no compassion for Berbix. Any one 
might have seen that Nobilior did but feint. Mark, they 
fix the fatal hook to tho body — they drag him away to the 
spoliarium — they scatter new sand over the stage ! Pansa 

* A little more than £80. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 875 

regrets nothing more than that he is not rich enough to 
strew the arena with borax and cinnabar, as Nero used 
to do." 

" Well, if it has been a brief battle, it is quickly suc- 
ceeded. See my handsome Lydon on the arena — ay, and 
the net-bearer too, and the swordsmen ! Oh, charming ! " 

There were now on the arena six combatants : Niger 
and his net, matched against Sporus with his shield and his 
short broadsword ; Lydon and Tetraides, naked save by a 
cincture round the waist, each armed only with a heavy 
Greek cestus — and two gladiators from Rome, clad in 
complete steel, and evenly matched with immense bucklers 
and pointed swords. 

The initiatory contest between Lydon and Tetraides 
being less deadly than that between the, other combatants, 
no sooner had they advanced to the middle of the arena 
than, as by common consent, the rest held back, to see 
how that contest should be decided, and wait till fierc&i 
weapons might replace the cestus, ere they themselves 
commenced hostilities. They stood leaning on their arms 
and apart from each other, gazing on the show, which, 
if not bloody enough, thoroughly to please the populace, 
they were still inclined to admire, because its origin was 
of their ancestral Greece. 

No person could, at first glance, have seemed less evenly 
matched than the two antagonists. Tetraides, though not 
taller than Lydon, weighed considerably more ; the natural 
size of his muscles was increased, to the eyes of the vulgar, 
by masses of solid flesh ; for, as it was a notion that the 
contest of the cestus fared easiest with him who was 
plumpest, Tetraides had encouraged to the utmost his 
hereditary predisposition to the portly. His shoulders 
were vast, and his lower limbs thick-set, double- jointed, 
and slightly curved outward, in that formation which 
takes so much from beauty to give so largely to strength. 
But Lydon, except that he was slender even almost to 
raeagreness, was beautifully and delicately proportioned; 
and the skilful might have perceived that, with much less 
compass of muscle than his foe, that which he had was 
more seasoned — iron and compact. In proportion, too, as 
he wanted flesh, he was likely to possess activity ; and a 
haughty smile on his resolute face, which strongly con- 
trasted the solid heaviness of his enemy's, gave assurance 



I 



876 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

to those who beheld it, and united their hope to their pity: 
so that, despite the disparity of their seeming strength, the 
cry of the multitude was nearly as loud for Lydon as for 
Tetraides. 

Whoever is acquainted with the modern prize-ring — 
whoever has witnessed the heavy and disabling strokes 
which the human fist, skilfully directed, hath the power to 
bestow — may easily understand how much that happy 
facility would be increased by a band carried by thongs of 
leather round the arm as high as the elbow, and terribly 
strengthened about the knuckles by a plate of iron, and 
sometimes a plummet of lead. Yet this, which was meant 
to increase, perhaps rather diminished, the interest of the 
fray: for it necessarily shortened its duration. A very 
few blows, successfully and scientifically planted, might 
suffice to bring the contest to a close ; and the battle did 
not, therefore, often allow full scope for the energy, forti- 
tude, and dogged perseverance, that we technically style 
pluck, which not unusually wins the day against superior 
science, and which heightens to so painful a delight the 
interest in the battle and the sympathy for the brave. 

" Guard thyself ! " growled Tetraides, moving nearer 
and nearer to his foe, who rather shifted round him than 
receded. 

Lydon did not answer, save by a scornful glance of his 
quick, vigilant eye. Tetraides struck — it was as the blow 
of a smith on a vice ; Lydon sank suddenly on one knee — 
the blow passed over his head. Not so harmless was 
Lydon's retaliation : he quickly sprung to his feet, and 
aimed his cestus full on the broad breast of his antagonist. 
Tetraides reeled — the populace shouted. 

"You are unlucky to-day," said Lepidus to Clodius: 
"you have lost one bet — you will lose another." 

" By the gods ! my bronzes go to the auctioneer if that 
is the case. I have no less than a hundred sestertia* upon 
Tetraides. Ha, ha ! see how he rallies ! That was a home 
stroke : he has cut open Lydon's shoulder. — A Tetraides ! 
—a Tetraides ! " 

" But Lydon is not disheartened. By Pollux: how well 
he keeps his temper. See how dexterously he avoids those 
hammer-like hands ! — dodging now here, now there — cir- 

* Above £800 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 877 

cling round and round. AJi, poor Lydon! lie has it 
again." 

" Three to one still on Tetraides ! What say you, 
Lepidus ? " 

" Well, nine sestertia to three — be it so ! What ! again, 
Lydon ? He stops — he gasps for breath. By the gods, he 
is down ! No — he is again on his legs. Brave Lydon ! 
Tetraides is encouraged — he laughs loud — he rushes on 
him." 

"Fool — success blinds him — he should be cautious. 
Lydon's eye is like the lynx's ! " said Clodius, between his 
teeth. 

" Ha, Clodius ! saw you that ? Your man totters ! An- 
other blow — he falls — he falls ! " 

" Earth revives him, then. He is once more up ; but the 
blood rolls down his face." 

" By the thunderer ! Lydon wins it. See how he presses 
on him! That blow on the temple would have crushed an 
ox ! it lias crushed Tetraides. He falls again — he cannot 
move — habet ! — habet ! " 

" Habet ! " repeated Pansa. " Take them out and give 
them the armour and swords." 

" Noble editor," said the officers, " we fear that Tetraides 
will not recover in time ; howbeit, we will try." 

" Do so." 

In a few minutes the officers, who had dragged off the 
stunned and insensible gladiator, returned with rueful 
countenances. They feared for his life ; he was utterly 
incapacitated from re-entering the arena. 

"In that case," said Pansa, "hold Lydon a svbditius; 
and the first gladiator that is vanquished, let Lydon supply 
his place with the victor." 

The people shouted their applause at this sentence : 
then they again sunk into deep silence. The trumpet 
sounded loudly. The four combatants stood each against 
each in prepared and stern array. 

" Dost thou recognise the Romans, my Clodius ; are they 
among the celebrated, or are they merely ordinarii ? " 

" Eumolpus is a good second-rate swordsman, my Le- 
pidus. Nepimus, the lesser man, I have never seen before ; 
but he is the son of one of the imperial fiscales,* and brought 

* Gladiators maintained by the emperor. 



1 



378 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

up in a proper school ; doubtless they will show sport, but 
I have no heart for the game ; I cannot win back my 
money — J am undone. Curses on that Lydon ! who could 
have supposed he was so dexterous or so lucky ? " 

"Well, Clodius, shall I take compassion on you, and 
accept your own terms with these Romans ? " 

" An even ten sestertia on Eumolpus, then ? " 

" What ! when Nepimus is untried ? Nay, nay ; that is 
too bad." 

"Well— ten to eight?" 

" Agreed." 

While the contest in the amphitheatre had thus com- 
menced, there was one in the loftier benches for whom it 
had assumed, indeed, a poignant — a stifling interest. The 
aged father of Lydon, despite his Christian horror of the 
spectacle, in his agonised anxiety for his son, had not been 
able to resist being the spectator of his fate. One amidst 
a fierce crowd of strangers — the lowest rabble of the popu- 
lace — the old man saw, felt nothing, but the form — the 
presence of his brave son ! Not a sound had escaped his 
lips when twice he had seen him fall to the earth ; — only he 
had turned paler, and his limbs trembled. But he had 
uttered one low cry when he saw him victorious ; uncon- 
scious, alas ! of the more fearful battle to which that vic- 
tory was but a prelude. 

" My gallant boy ! " said he, and wiped his eyes. 

"Is he thy son ? " said a brawny fellow to the right of 
the Nazarene; " he has fought well: let us see how he 
does by-and-by. Hark! he is to fight the first victor. 
Now, old boy, pray the gods that that victor be neither of 
the Romans ! nor, next to them, the giant Niger." 

The old man sat down again and covered his face. The 
fray for the moment was indifferent to him — Lydon was 
not one of the combatants. Yet — yet — the thought flashed 
across him — the fray was indeed of deadly interest — the 
first who fell was to make way for Lydon ! Ho started, 
and bent down, with straining eyes and clasped hands to 
view the encounter. 

The first interest was attracted towards the combat of 
Niger with Sporus ; for this species of contest, from the 
fatal result which usually attended it, and from the great 
scienco it required in either antagonist, was always pecu- 
liarly inviting to the spectators. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 879 

They stood at a considerable distance from each other. 
The singular helmet which Sporus wore (the vizor of 
which was down) concealed his face ; but the features of 
Niger attracted a fearful and universal interest from their 
compressed and vigilant ferocity. Thus they stood for 
some moments, each eyeing each, until Sporus began 
slowly, and with great caution, to advance, holding his 
sword pointed, like a modern fencer's, at the breast of his 
foe. Niger retreated as his antagonist advanced, gather- 
ing up his net with his right hand, and never taking his 
small glittering eye from the movements of the swords- 
man. Suddenly, when Sporus had approached nearly at 
arm's length, the retiarius threw himself forward, and cast 
his net. A quick inflection of body saved the gladiator 
from the deadly snare ! he uttered a sharp cry of joy and 
rage, and rushed upon Niger: but Niger had already 
drawn in his net, thrown it across his shoulders, and now 
fled round the lists with a swiftness which the sccutor* in 
vain endeavoured to equal. The people laughed and 
shouted aloud, to see the ineffectual efforts of the broad- 
shouldered gladiator to overtake the flying giant : when, 
at that moment, their attention was turned from these to 
the two Roman combatants. 

They had placed themselves at the onset face to face, at 
the distance of modern fencers from each other : but the 
extreme caution which both evinced at first had prevented 
any warmth of engagement, and allowed the spectators 
full leisure to interest themselves in the battle between 
Sporus and his foe. But the Romans were now heated 
into full and fierce encounter : they pushed — returned— 
advanced on — retreated from — eaah other % with all that 
careful yet scarcely perceptible caution which characterises 
men well experienced and equally matched. But at this 
moment, Eumolpus, the elder gladiator, by that dexterous 
back-stroke which was considered in the arena so difficult 
to avoid, had wounded Nepimus in the side. The people 
shouted ; Lepidus turned pale. 

u Ho ! " said Clodius, " the game is nearly over. If 
Eumolpus fights now the quiet fight, the other will gradu- 
ally bleed himself away." 

* So called, from the office of that tribe o£gladiators, in following the foe 
the moment the net was cast, in order to smite him ere he could have time 
to rearrange it. 



880 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

" But, thank the gods ! he does iwt fight the backward 
fight. See ! — he presses hard npon Nepimus. By Mars ! 
but Nepimus had him there ! the helmet rang again ! — 
Clodius, I shall win ! " 

" Why do I ever bet but at the dice ? " groaned Clodius 
to himself ; — " or why cannot one cog a gladiator ? " 

" A Sporus ! — a Sporus ! " shouted the populace, as 
Niger having now snddenly paused, had again cast his 
net, and again unsuccessfully. He had not retreated this 
time with sufficient agility — the sword of Sporus had in- 
flicted a severe wound upon his right leg ; and, incapaci- 
tated to fly, he was pressed hard by the fierce swords- 
man. His great height and length of arm still continued, 
however, to give him no despicable advantages ; and 
steadily keeping his trident at the front of his foe, he re- 
pelled him successfully for several minutes. Sporus now 
tried, by great rapidity of evolution, to get round his an- 
tagonist, who necessarily moved with pain and slowness. 
In so doing, he lost his caution — he advanced too near to 
the giant — raised his arm to strike, and received the three 
points of the fatal spear full in his breast ! He sank on 
his knee. In a moment more, the deadly net was cast 
over him, he struggled against its meshes in vain ; again — 
again — again he writhed mutely beneath the fresh strokes 
of the trident — his blood flowed fast through the net and 
red ly over the sand. § He lowered his arms in acknowledg- 
ment of defeat. 

The conquering retiarius withdrew his net, and leaning 
on his spear, looked to the audience for their judgment. 
Slowly, too, at the same moment, the vanquished gladiator 
rolled his dim and despairing eyes around the theatre. 
From row to row, from bench to bench, there glared upon 
him but merciless and unpitying eyes. 

Hushed was the roar — the murmur ! The silence was 
dread, for in it was no sympathy ; not a hand — no, not 
even a woman'3 hand — gave the signal of charity and life ! 
Sporus had never been popular in the arena ; and, lately, 
the interest of the combat had been excited on behalf of 
the wounded Niger. The people were warmed into blood 
— the mimic fight had ceased to charm ; the interest had 
mounted up to the desire of sacrifice and the thirst of death ! 

The gladiator felt that his doom was sealed : he uttered 
no prayer — no groan. The people gave the signal of 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 381 

death ! In dogged but agonised submission, he bent his 
neck to receive the fatal stroke. And now, as the spear of 
the retiarius was not a weapon to inflict instant and cer- 
tain death, there stalked into the arena a grim and fatal 
form, brandishing a short, sharp sword, and with features 
utterly concealed beneath its vizor. With slow and 
measured steps, this dismal headsman approached the gla- 
diator, still kneeling — laid the left hand on his humbled 
crest— drew the edge of the blade across his neck — turned 
round to the assembly, lest, in the last moment, remorse 
should come upon them ; the dread signal continued the 
same: the blade glittered brightly in the air — fell — and 
the gladiator rolled upon the sand ; his limbs quivered — 
were still, — he was a corpse.* 

His body was dragged at once from the arena through 
the gate of death, and thrown into the gloomy den termed 
technically the spoliarium. And ere it had well reached 
that destination, the strife between the remaining com- 
batants was decided. The sword of Eumolpus had in- 
flicted the death-wound upon the less experienced com- 
batant. A new victim was added to the receptacle of the 
the slain. 

Throughout that mighty assembly there now ran a 
universal movement ; the people breathed more freely, and 
resettled themselves in their seats. A grateful shower 
was cast over every row from the concealed conduits. In 
cool and luxurious pleasure they talked over the late spec- 
tacle of blood. Eumolpus removed his helmet, and wiped 
his brows; his close-curled hair and short beard, his 
noble Roman features and bright dark eye attracted 
the general admiration. He was fresh, unwounded, un- 
fatigued. 

The editor paused, and proclaimed aloud that, as 
Niger's wound disabled him from again entering the 
arena, Lydon was to be the successor to the slaughtered 
Nepimus, and the new combatant of Eumolpus. 

" Yet Lydon," added he, "if thou wouldst decline the 
combat with one so brave and tried, thou mayst have full 
liberty to do so. Eumolpus is not the antagonist that was 
originally decreed for thee. Thou knowest best how far 
thou canst cope with him. If thou failcst, thy doom is 

* See tbe engraving from the friezes of Pompeii, in the work on that city 
published in the "Library of Entertaining Knowledge/' vol. ii. p. 211. 



832 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

honourable death ; if thou conquerest, out of my own 
purse I will double the stipulated prize." 

The people shouted applause. Lydon stood in the lists, 
he gazed around ; high above-he beheld the pale face, the 
straining eyes, of his father. He turned away irresolute 
for a moment. No ! the conquest of the cestus was not 
sufficient — he had not yet won the prize of victory — his 
father was still a slave ! 

" Noble sedile ! " he replied, in a firm and deep tone, " I 
shrink not from this combat. For the honour of Pompeii, 
I demand that - one trained by its long-celebrated lanista 
shall do battle with this Roman." 

The people shouted louder than before. 

" Four to one against Lydon! " said Clodius to Lepidus. 

" I would not take twenty to one ! Why, Eumolpus 
is a very Achilles, and this poor fellow is but a tyro I " 

Eumolpus gazed hard on the face of Lydon ; he smiled : 
yet the smile was followed by a slight and scarce audible 
sigh — a touch of compassionate emotion, which custom 
conquered the moment the heart acknowledged it. 

Aid now both, clad in complete armour, the sword 
drawn, the vizor closed, the two last combatants of the 
arena (ere man, at least, was matched with beast), stood 
opposed to each other. 

It was just at this time that a letter was delivered to the 
praetor by one of the attendants of the arena ; he removed 
the cincture — glanced over it for a moment — his counte- 
nance betrayed surprise and embarrassment. He re-read 
the letter, and then muttering, — " Tush ! it is impossible ! 
—the man must be drunk, even in the morning, to dream 
of such follies ! " — threw it carelessly aside, and gravely 
settled himself once more in the attitude of attention to the 
sports. 

The interest of the public was wound up very high 
Eumolpus had at first won their favour ; but the gallantry 
of Lydon, and his well-timed allusion to the honour of the 
Pompeian lanista, had afterwards given the latter the pre- 
ference in their eyes. 

" Holla, old fellow ! " said Medon's neighbour to him, 
" Your son is hardly matched ; but never fear, the editor 
will not permit him to be slain — no, nor the people 
neither ; he has behaved too bravely for that. Ha ! that 
was a home thrust ! — well averted, by Pollux ! At him 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 383 

again, Lydon ! — they stop to breathe ! What art thou 
muttering, old boy ? " 

" Prayers ! " answered Medon, with a more calm and 
hopeful mien than he had yet maintained. 

" Prayers ! — trifles ! The time for gods to carry a man 
away in a cloud is gone now. Ha ! Jupiter ! — what a 
blow ! Thy side — thy side ! — take care of thy side, 
Lydon ! " 

There was a convulsive tremor throughout the assembly. 
A fierce blow from Bumolpus, full on the crest, had 
brought Lydon to his knee. 

" Habet I — he has it ! " cried a shrill female voice ; " he 
has it!" 

It was the voice of the girl who had so anxiously anti- 
cipated the sacrifice of some criminal to the beasts. 

" Be silent, child ! " said the wife of Pansa, haughtily. 
11 Non habet ! — he is not wounded ! " 

" I wish he were, if only to spite old surly Medon," 
muttered the girl. 

Meanwhile Lydon, who had hitherto defended himself 
with great skill and valour, began to give way before the 
vigorous assaults of the practised Roman ; his arm grew 
tired, his eye dizzy, he breathed hard and painfully. The 
combatants paused again for breath. 

" Young man," said Eumolpus, in a low voice, " desist ; 
I will wound thee slightly — then lower thy arms ; thou 
hast propitiated the editor and the mob — thou wilt be 
honourably saved ! " 

"And my father still enslaved!" groaned Lydon to 
himself. " No ! death or his freedom." 

At that thought, and seeing that, his strength not being 
equal to the endurance of the Roman, everything de- 
pended on a sudden and desperate effort, he threw himself 
fiercely on Eumolpus; the Roman warily retreated — 
Lydon thrust again — Eumolpus drew himself aside — the 
sword grazed his cuirass — Lydon's breast was exposed — 
the Roman plunged his sword through the joints of the 
armour, not meaning, however, to inflict a deep wound ; 
Lydon, weak and exhausted, fell forward, fell right on the 
point : it passed through and through, even to the back. 
Eumolpus drew forth his blade ; Lydon still made an effort 
to regain his balance — his sword left his grasp — he struck 
mechanically at the gladiator with his naked hand, and 



384 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPETL 

fell prostrate on the arena. With one accord, editor and 
assembly made the signal of mercy — the officers of the 
arena approached — they took off the helmet of the van- 
quished. He still breathed ; his eyes rolled fiercely on his 
foe ; the savageness he had acquired in his calling glared 
from his gaze, and lowered npon the brow darkened 
already with the shades of death ; then, with a convulsive 
groan, with a half start, he lifted hia eyes above. They 
rested not on the face of the editor nor on the pitying 
brows of his relenting judges. He saw them not ; they 
were as if the vast space was desolate and bare ; one pale 
agonising face alone was all he recognised — one cry of a 
broken heart was all that, amidst the murmurs and the 
shouts of the populace, reached his ear. The ferocity 
vanished from his brow : a soft, a tender expression of 
sanctifying but despairing filial love played over his 
features — played — waned— -darkened ! His face suddenly 
became locked and rigid, resuming its former fierceness. 
He fell upon the earth. 

"Look to him," said the ffidile; "he has done his 
duty!" 

The officers dragged him off to the spoliarium. 

" A true type of glory, and of its fate ! " murmured 
Arbaces to himself ; and his eye, glancing round the am- 
phitheatre, betrayed so much of disdain and scorn, that 
whoever encountered it felt his breath suddenly arrested, 
and his emotions frozen into one sensation of abasement 
and of awe. 

Again rich perfumes were wafted around the theatre ; 
the attendants sprinkled fresh sand over the arena. 

" Bring forth the lion and Glaucus the Athenian," said 
the editor. 

And a deep and breathless hush of overwrought in- 
terest, and intense (yet, strange to say, not unpleasing) 
terror lay, like a mighty and awful dream, over tho 
assembly. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 885 

CHAPTER III. 

SALLUST AND NYDIA'S LETTER. 

Thrice liad Sallust awakened from his morning sleep, 
and thrice, tecollecting that his friend was that day to 
perish, had he tnrned himself with a deep sigh onco more 
to court oblivion. His sole object in life was to avoid 
pain ; and where he could not avoid, at least to forget it. 

At length, unable any longer to steep his consciousness in 
slumber, he raised himself from his incumbent posture, and 
discovered his favourite freedman sitting by his bedside as 
usual; for Sallust, who, as I have said, had a gentlemanlike 
taste for the polite letters, was accustomed to be read to 
for an hour or so previous to his rising in the morning. 

" No books to-day ! no more Tibullus ! no more Pindar 
for me ! Pindar ! alas, alas ! the very name recalls those 
games to which our arena is the savage successor. Has it 
begun — the amphitheatre ? are its rites commenced ? " 

" Long since, O Sallust ! Did you not hear the trumpets 
and the trampling feet ? " 

"Ay, ay; but the gods be thanked, I was drowsy, and 
had only to turn round to fall asleep again." 

" The gladiators must have been long in the ring ? " 

,c The wretches ! None of my people have gone to the 
spectacle ? " 

" Aissuredly not ; your orders were too strict." 

11 That is well- — would the day were over ! What is that 
letter yonder on the table ? " 

" That ! Oh, the letter brought to you last night, when 
you were too — too " 

" Drunk to read it, I suppose. No matter, it cannot bo 
of much importance." 

" Shall I open it for you, Sallust ? " 

14 Do : anything to divert my thoughts. Poor Glaucus ! " 

The freedman opened the letter. " What ! Greek ? " said 
he: "some learned lady, I suppose." He glanced over 
the letter, and for some moments the irregular lines 
traced by the blind girl's hand puzzled him. Suddenly, 
however, his countenance exhibited emotion and surprise. 

o o 



<** THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 



*- (WA zrdb ! *nrMt SaEasa ! what ban? we dose not to 
ta&ezA to ibi* he&x*? Hearmeread! 

^'XjxEa. the tiave, to Saftast, the friend of Gfcncns! 
I am a pr-jrvEi£T in the- hemm of Arhaces. Hasten to the 
praetor ! procure bt release, and we shall jet save Glancus 
from the Koa. laere is another prisoner within these 
walls, whcse wfiaess can exonerate the Athenian from the 
charge against him ; — oae who saw the crime — who can 

Cr* the criminal in a riOam hitherto unsuspected. Fly! 
sea ! quick ! quick ! Bring with you armed men, lest 
resistance be made, and a cunning and dexterous smith ; 
for the dungeon of my fellow-prisoner is thick and strong. 
Oh ! by thy right hand, and thy father's ashes, lose not a 



moment! '" 



" Great Jove ! " exclaimed Salrast, starting, "and tins 
day — nav, within this hour, perhaps, he dies. What is to 
be done ? I wiD instantly to the praetor." 

" Nay ; not so. The praetor (as well as Pans*, the editor 
himself) is the creature of the mob ; and the mob will not 
hear of delay ; they will not be balked in the very moment 
of expectation. Besides, the publicity of the appeal would 
forewarn the cunning Egyptian. It is evident that he has 
some interest in these concealments. No ; fortunately, thy 
slaves are in thy house." 

" I seize thy meaning/' interrupted SaHust ; " arm the 
slaves instantly. The streets are empty. We will our- 
selves hasten to the house of Arhaces, and release the 
prisoners. Quick ! quick ! What ho ! Davus there ! 
My gown and sandals, the papyrus and a reed.* I will 
write to the praetor, to beseech him to delay the sentence 
of Glancus, for that, within an hour, we may yet prove 
him innocent. So, to; that is well. Hasten with this, 
Davus, to the praetor, at the amphitheatre. See it given to 
his own hand. Now then, ye gods ! whose providence 
Epicurus denied, befriend me, and I will call Epicurus a 
liar ! " 

* The reed (calamus) was used for writing on papyrus and parchment ; 
the stilus for writing on waxen tablets, plates of metal, &c. Letters were 
written sometime* on tablets, sometimes on papyrus. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 8S7 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE AMPHITHEATRE ONCE MORE. 

Glaucus and Olinthus had been placed together in that 
gloomy and narrow cell in which the criminals of the arena 
awaited their last and fearful struggle. Their eyes, of late 
accustomed to the darkness, scanned the faces of each 
other in this awful hour, and by that dim light, the pale- 
ness, which chased away the natural hues from either cheek, 
assumed a yet more ashy and ghastly whiteness. Yet their 
brows were erect and dauntless — their limbs did not tremble 
— their lips were compressed and rigid. The religion of 
the one, the pride of the other, the conscious innocence of 
both, and, it may be, the support derived from their mutual 
companionship, elevated the victim into the hero. 

" Hark ! hearest thou that shout ? They are growling 
over their human blood " said Olinthus. 

" I hear ; my heart grows sick ; but the gods support 
me. 

" The gods ! rash young man ! in this hour recog- 
nise only the One God. Have I not taught thee in tho 
dungeon, wept for thee, prayed for thee ? — in my zeal and 
in my agony, have I not thought more of thy salvation 
than my own? " 

" Brave friend ! M answered Glaucus, solemnly, " I have 
listened to thee with awe, with wonder, and with a secr^a 
tendency towards conviction. Had our lives been spared, 
I might gradually have weaned myself from the tenets of 
my own faith, and inclined to thine ; but, in this last hour, 
it were a craven thing, and a base, to yield to hasty terror 
what should only be the result of lengthened meditation. 
Were I to embrace thy creed, and cast down my father's 
gods, should I not be bribed by thy promise of heaven, or 
awed by thy threats of hell ? Olinthus, no ! Think we of 
each other with equal charity — I honouring thy sincerity — 
thou pitying my blindness or my obdurate courage. As 
have been my deeds, such will be my reward ; and the 
Power or Powers above will not judge harshly of human 
error, when it is linked with honesty of purpose and truth 

oo2 



363 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

of heai-t. Speak we no more of this. Hush ! Dost thou hear 
them drag yon heavy body through the passage ? Such as 
that clay will be ours soon." 

" Heaven ! O Christ ! already I behold ye ! " cried 
the fervent 01 in thus, lifting up his hands ; " I tremble not 
— I rejoice that the prison-house shall be soon broken." 

Glaucus bowed his head in silence. He felt the distinc- 
tion between his fortitude and that of his fellow-sufferer. 
The heathen did not tremble ; but the Christian exulted. 

The door swung gratingly back — the gle^m of spears 
shot along the walls. 

" Glaucus the Athenian, thy time has come," said a loud 
and clear voice ; " the lion awaits thee." 

" I am ready," said the Athenian. " Brother and co- 
mate, one last embrace ! Bless me — and farewell ! " 

The Christian opened his arms — he clasped the young 
heathen to his breast — he kissed his forehead and cheek — 
he sobbed aloud — his tears flowed fast and hot over the 
features of his new friend. 

" Oh ! could I have converted thee, I had not wept. Oh! 
that I might say to thee, ' We two shall sup . this night in 
Paradise ! ' " 

" It may be so yet," answered the Greek, with a tremulous 
voice. " They whom death part not, may meet yet beyond 
the grave: on the earth — on the beautiful, the beloved 
earth, farewell for ever! — Worthy officer, I attend you." 

Glaucus tore himself away; and when he came forth 
into the air, its breath, which, though sunless, was hot and 
arid, smote witheringly upon him. His frame, not yet 
restored from the effects of the deadly draught, shrank 
and trembled. The officers supported him. 

" Courage ! " said one ; " thou art young, active, well 
knit. They give thee a weapon ! despair not, and thou 
mayst yet conquer." 

Glaucus did not reply ; but, ashamed of his infirmity, 
he made a desperate and convulsive effort, and regained 
the firmness of his nerves. They anointed his body, com- 
pletely naked, save by a cincture round the loins, placed 
the stilus (vain weapon !) in his hand, and led him into the 
arena. 

And now when the Greek saw the eyes of thousands and 
tens of thousands upon him, he no longer felt that he was 
mortal. AJ1 evidence of fear — all fear itself — was gone. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 389 

A red and haughty flush spread over the paleness of his 
features — he towered aloft to the full of his glorious 
stature. In the elastic beauty of his limbs and form, in 
his intent but unfrowning brow, in the high disdain, and 
in the indomitable soul, which breathed visibly, which spoke 
audibly, from his attitude, his lip, his eye, — he seemed the 
very incarnation, vivid and corporeal, of the valour of 
his land — of the divinity of its worship — at once a hero and 
a god! 

The murmur of hatred and horror at his crime, which 
had greeted his entrance, died into the silence of in- 
voluntary admiration and half- compassionate respect ; and, 
with a quick and convulsive sigh, that seemed to move 
the whole mass of life as if it were one body, the 
gaze of the spectators turned from the Athenian to a dark 
uncouth object in the centre of the arena. It was the 
grated den of the lion ! 

" By Venus, how warm it is ! " said Fulvia ; " yet there 
is no sun. Would that those stupid sailors * could have 
fastened up that gap in the awning ! " 

" Oh ! is is warm, indeed. I turn sick — I faint ! " said 
the wife of Pansa; even her experienced stoicism giving 
way at the struggle about to take place. 

The lion had been kept without food for twenty-four 
hours, and the animal had, during the whole morning, 
testified a singular and restless uneasiness, which the 
keeper had attributed to the pangs of hunger. Yet its 
bearing seemed rather that of fear than of rage ; its roar 
was painful and distressed ; it hung its head — snuffed the 
air through the bars — then lay down — started again — and 
again uttered its wild and far- resounding cries. And now, 
in its den, it lay utterly dumb and mute, with distended 
nostrils forced hard against the grating, and disturbing, 
with a heaving breath, the sand below on the arena. 

The editor's lip quivered, and his cheek grew pale ; he 
looked anxiously around — hesitated — delayed; the crowd 
became impatient. Slowly he gave the sign ; the keeper, 
who was behind the den, cautiously removed the grating, 
and the lion leaped forth with a mighty and glad roar of 
release. The keeper hastily retreated through the grated 

* Sailors were generally employed in fastening the velaria of the amphi- 
theatre. 



390 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPLII. 

passage leading from the arena, and left the lord of the 
forest— and his prey. 

Glaucus had bent his limbs so as to give himself the 
firmest posture at the expected rush of the lion, with his 
small and shining weapon raised on high, in the faint hope 
that one well-directed thrust (for he knew that he should 
have time but for one) might penetrate through the eye to 
the brain of his grim foe. 

But, to the unutterable astonishment of all, the beast 
seemed not even aware of the presence of the criminal. 

At the first moment of its release it halted abruptly in 
the arena, raised itself half on end, snuffing the upward air 
with impatient sighs ; then suddenly it sprang forward, but 
not on the Athenian. At half -speed it circled round and 
round the space, turning its vast head from side to side 
with an anxious and perturbed gaze, as if seeking only 
some avenue of escape; once or twice it endeavoured to 
leap up the parapet that divided it from the audience, and, 
on failing, uttered rather a baffled howl than its deep-toned 
and kingly roar. It evinced no sign, either of wrath or 
hunger ; its tail drooped along the sand, instead of lashing 
its gaunt sides ; and its eye, though it wandered at times 
to Glaucus, rolled again listlessly from him. At length, as 
if tired of attempting to escape, it crept with a moan into 
its cage, and once more laid itself down to rest. 

The first surprise of the assembly at the apathy of the 
lion soon grew converted into resentment at its cowardice ; 
and the populace already merged their pity for the fate of 
Glaucus into angry compassion for their own disappoint- 
ment. 

The editor called to the keeper. 

"How is this? Take the goad, prick him forth, and 
then close the door of the den." 

As the keeper, with some fear, but more astonishment, 
was preparing to obey, a loud cry was heard at one of the 
entrances of the arena ; there was a confusion, a bustle 
— voices of remonstrance suddenly breaking forth, and 
suddenly silenced at the reply. All eyes turned in 
wonder at the interruption, towards the quarter of the 
disturbance ; the crowd gave way, and suddenly Sallust 
appeared on the senatorial benches, his hair dishevelled — 
breathless — heated — half-exhausted. He cast his eyes 
hastily round the ring. " Remove the Athenian," he cried; 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 391 

" haste — he is innocent ! Arrest Arbaces the Egyptian — 
he is the murderer of Apaecides ! " 

" Art thou mad, O Sallust ! " said the praetor, rising 
from his seat. " What means this raving ? " 

" Remove the Athenian ! — Quick ! or his blood be on 
your head. Praetor, delay, and you answer with your own 
life to the emperor ! I bring with me the eye-witness to 
the death of the priest Apaecides. Room there ! — stand 
back ! — give way ! People of Pompeii, fix every eye 
upon Arbaces — there he sits ! Room there for the priest 
Calenus ! " 

Pale, haggard, fresh from the jaws of famine and of 
death, his face fallen, his eyes dull as a vulture's, his broad 
frame gaunt as a skeleton, — Calenus was supported into 
the very row in which Arbaces sat. His releasers had 
given him sparingly of food ; but the chief sustenance that 
nerved his feeble limbs was revenge ! 

" The priest Calenus ! — Calenus ! " cried the mob. " Is 
it he ? No — it is a dead man ! " 

"It is the priest Calenus," said the praetor, gravely. 
"What hast thou to say ? " 

" Arbaces of Egypt is the murderer of Apaecides, the 
priest of Isis ; these eyes saw him deal the blow. It is 
from the dungeon into which he plunged me — it is from 
the darkness and horror of a death by famine — that tho 
gods have raised me to proclaim his crime ! Release tho 
Athenian — he is innocent ! " 

" It is for this, then, that the lion spared him. — A 
miracle ! a miracle ! " cried Pansa. 

" A miracle ; a miracle ! " shouted the people ; " remove 
the Athenian — Arbaces to the lion! " 

And that shout echoed from hill to vale — from coast to 
sea — " Arbaces to the lion ! " 

" Officers, remove the accused Glaucus — remove, but 
guard him yet," said the prcetor. " The gods lavish their 
wonders upon this day." 

As the praetor gave the word of release, there was a cry 
of joy — a female voice — a child's voice — and it was of joy ! 
It rang through the heart of the assembly with electric 
force — it was touching, it was holy, that child's voice ! 
And the populace echoed it back with sympathising con- 
gratulation ! 

" Silence ! " said the grave praetor — " who is there ? " 



892 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

" The blind girl — Nydia," answered Sallust ; " it is her 
hand that has raised Calenns from the grave, and delivered 
Glaucns from the lion." 

" Of this hereafter," said the praetor. " Calenns, priest 
of Isis, thon accusest Arbaces of the murder of Apaecides? " 

" I do." 

" Thon didst behold the deed ? " 

" Prnetor — with these eyes " 

" Enough at present — the details must be reserved for 
more suiting time and place. Arbaces of Egypt, thou 
hcarest the charge against thee — thou hast not yet spoken 
— what hast thou to say ? " 

The gaze of the crowd had been long riveted on Arbaces: 
but not until the confusion which he had betrayed at the first 
charge of Sallust and the entrance of Calenus had subsided. 
At the shout, " Arbaces to the lion ! " he had indeed trem- 
bled, and the dark bronze of his cheek had taken a paler hue. 
But he had soon recovered his haughtiness and self-control. 
Proudly he returned the angry glare of the countless eyes 
around him; and replying now to the question of the 
praetor, he said, in that accent so peculiarly tranquil and 
commanding, which characterised his tones, — 

" Praetor, this charge is so mad that it scarcely deserves 
reply. My first accuser is the noble Sallust — the most 
intimate friend of Glaucus ! my second is a priest ; I revere 
his garb and calling — but, people of Pompeii ! ye know 
somewhat of the character of Calenus — he is griping and 
gold-thirsty to a proverb ; the witness of such men is to be 
bought ! Praetor, I am innocent ! " 

"Sallust," said the magistrate, "where found you 
Calenus ? " 

" In the dungeons of Arbaces." 

"Egyptian," said the praetor, frowning, "thou didst, 
then, dare to imprison a priest of the gods — and where- 
fore ? " 

" Hear me," answered Arbaces, rising calmly, but with 
agitation visible in his face. " This man came to threaten 
that he would make against me the charge he has now 
made, unless I would purchase his silence with half my 
fortune : I remonstrated — in vain. Peace there — let not 
the priest interrupt me ! Noble praetor — and ye, O people ! 
I was a stranger in the land — I knew myself innocent of 
crime — but the witness of a priest against me might yet 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 897 

beheld, by the light of the lamp, an old grey-headed ' man 
sitting on the floor, and supporting in his lap the head of 
one of the dead. The features of the dead man were 
firmly and rigidly locked in the last sleep ; but over the 
lip there played a fierce smile — not the Christian's smile of 
hope, but the dark sneer of hatred and , defiance. Yet on 
the face still lingered the beautiful roundness of early 
youth. The hair curled thick and glossy over the un- 
wrinkled brow; and the down of manhood but slightly 
shaded the marble of the hueless cheek. And over this 
face bent one of such unutterable sadness — of such yearn- 
ing tenderness — of such fond and such deep despair ! The 
tears of the old man fell fast and hot, but he did not feel 
them; and when his lips moved, and ho mechanically 
uttered the prayer of his benign and hopeful faith, neither 
his heart nor his sense responded to the words : it was but 
the involuntary emotion that broke from the lethargy of 
his mind. His boy was dead, and had died for him ! — and 
the old man's heart was broken ! 

" Medon ! " said Olinthus, pityingly, " arise, and fly ! 
God is forth upon the wings of the elements ! The New 
Gomorrah is doomed ! — Fly, ere the fires consume thee ! " 

" He was ever so full of life ! — he cannot be dead ! 
Come, hither! — place your hand on his heart! — sure it 
beats yet?" 

" Brother, the soul has fled ! We will remember it in 
our prayers ! Thou canst not reanimate the dumb clay ! 
Come, come — hark ! while I speak, yon crashing walls ! — 
hark ! yon agonising cries ! Not a moment is to be lost ! — 
Come!" 

" I hear nothing ! " said Medon, shaking his grey hair. 
" The poor boy, his love murdered him ! " 

" Come ! come ! forgive this friendly force." 

" What ! Who would sever the father from the son ? " 
And Medon clasped the body tightly in his embrace, and 
covered it with passionate kisses. " Go ! " said he, lifting 
up his face for one moment. " Go ! — we must be alone ! " 

" Alas ! " said the compassionate Nazarene, " Death hath 
severed ye already ! " 

The old man smiled very calmly. " No, no, no ! " he 
muttered, his voice growing lower with each word,— 
— " Death has been more kind ! " 

With that his head drooped on his son's breast — his 



396 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPElt. 

This affecting scene was soon interrupted by the evont 
just described. 

" The mountain ! the earthquake ! " resounded from side 
to side. The officers fled with the rest ; they left Glaucus 
and Nydia to save themselves as they might. 

As the sense of the dangers around them flashed on the 
Athenian, his generous heart recurred to Olinthus. He, 
too, was reprieved from the tiger by the hand of the gods ; 
should he be left to a no less fatal death in the neighbour- 
ing cell ? Taking Nydia by the hand, Glaucus hurried 
across the passages ; he gained the den of the Christian ! 
He found Olinthus kneeling and in prayer. 

" Arise ! arise ! my friend," he cried. " Save thyself, 
and fly ! See ! Nature is thy dread deliverer ! " He led 
forth the bewildered Christian, and pointed to a cloud 
which advanced darker and darker, disgorging forth 
showers of ashes and pumice stones; — and bade him 
hearken to the cries and trampling rush of the scattered 
crowd. 

" This is the hand of God — God be praised ! " said Olin- 
thus, devoutly. 

" Fly ! seek thy brethren ! Concert with them thy 
escape. Farewell ! " 

Olinthus did not answer, neither did he mark the re- 
treating form of his friend. High thoughts and solemn 
absorbed his soul ; and in the enthusiasm of his kindling 
heart, ho exulted in the mercy of God rather than trembled 
at the evidence of His power. 

At length he roused himself, and hurried on, he scarce 
knew whither. 

The open doors of a dark, desolate cell suddenly appeared 
on his path ; through the gloom within there flared and 
flickered a single lamp ; and by its light he saw three grim 
and naked forms stretched on the earth in death. His 
feet were suddenly arrested ; for, amidst the terrors of that 
drear recesss — the spoliarium of the arena — he heard a 
low voice calling on the name of Christ ! 

He could not resist lingering at that appeal ; he entered 
the den, and his feet were dabbled in the slow streams of 
blood that gushed from the corpses over the sand. 

" Who," said the Nazarcne, " calls upon the son of 
God ? " 

No answer came forth ; and turning round, Olinthus 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 857 

beheld, by the light of the lamp, an old grey-headed ' man 
sitting on the floor, and supporting in his lap the head of 
one of the dead. The features of the dead man were 
firmly and rigidly locked in the last sleep ; but over the 
lip there played a fierce smile — not the Christian's smile of 
hope, but the dark sneer of hatred and , defiance. Yet on 
the face still lingered the beautiful roundness of early 
youth. The hair curled thick and glossy over the un- 
wrinkled brow; and the down of manhood but slightly 
shaded the marble of the hueless cheek. And over this 
face bent one of such unutterable sadness — of such yearn- 
ing tenderness — of such fond and such deep despair ! The 
tears of the old man fell fast and hot, but he did not feel 
them; and when his lips moved, and he mechanically 
uttered the prayer of his benign and hopeful faith, neither 
his heart nor his sense responded to the words : it was but 
the involuntary emotion that broke from the lethargy of 
his mind. His boy was dead, and had died for him ! — and 
the old man's heart was broken ! 

" Medon ! " said Olinthus, pityingly, " arise, and fly ! 
God is forth upon the wings of the elements ! The New 
Gomorrah is doomed ! — Fly, ere the fires consume thee ! " 

" He was ever so full of life ! — he cannot be dead ! 
Come, hither! — place your hand on his heart! — sure it 
beats yet?" 

" Brother, the soul has fled ! We will remember it in 
our prayers ! Thou canst not reanimate the dumb clay ! 
Come, come — hark ! while I speak, yon crashing walls ! — 
hark ! yon agonising cries ! Not a moment is to be lost ! — 
Come ! " 

" I hear nothing ! " said Medon, shaking his grey hair. 
" The poor boy, his love murdered him ! " 

" Come ! come ! forgive this friendly force." 

" What ! Who would sever the father from the son ? w 
And Medon clasped the body tightly in his embrace, and 
covered it with passionate kisses. "Go!" said he, lifting 
up his face for one moment. " Go ! — we must be alone ! " 

" Alas ! " said the compassionate Nazarene, " Death hath 
severed ye already ! " 

The old man smiled very calmly. " No, no, no ! " he 
mattered, his voice growing lower with each word,— 
— " Death has been more kind ! " 

With that his head drooped on his son's breast — his 



396 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPElt. 

This affecting scene was soon interrupted by the evont 
just described. 

" The mountain ! the earthquake ! " resounded from side 
to side. The officers fled with the rest ; they left Glaucus 
and Nydia to save themselves as they might. 

As tho sense of the dangers around them flashed on the 
Athenian, his generous heart recurred to Olinthus. He, 
too, was reprieved from the tiger by the hand of the gods ; 
should he be left to a no less fatal death in the neighbour- 
ing cell? Taking Nydia by the hand, Glaucus hurried 
across the passages ; he gained the den of the Christian ! 
He found Olinthus kneeling and in prayer. 

" Arise ! arise ! my friend," he cried. " Save thyself, 
and fly ! See ! Nature is thy dread deliverer ! " He led 
forth the bewildered Christian, and pointed to a cloud 
which advanced darker and darker, disgorging forth 
showers of ashes and pumice stones; — and bade him 
hearken to the cries and trampling rush of the scattered 
crowd. 

" This is the hand of God — God be praised ! " said Olin- 
thus, devoutly. 

" Fly ! seek thy brethren ! Concert with them thy 
escape. Farewell ! " 

Olinthus did not answer, neither did he mark tho re- 
treating form of his friend. High thoughts and solemn 
absorbed his soul ; and in the enthusiasm of his kindling 
heart, ho exulted in the mercy of God rather than trembled 
at the evidence of His power. 

At length he roused himself, and hurried on, he scarce 
knew whither. 

The open doors of a dark, desolate cell suddenly appeared 
on his path ; through the gloom within there flared and 
flickered a single lamp ; and by its light he saw three grim 
and naked forms stretched on the earth in death. His 
feet were suddenly arrested ; for, amidst the terrors of that 
drear recesss — the spoliarium of the arena — he heard a 
low voice calling on the name of Christ ! 

He could not resist lingering at that appeal ; he entered 
the den, and his feet were dabbled in the slow streams of 
blood that gushed from the corpses over the sand. 

" Who," said the Nazarene, " calls upon the son of 
God ? " 

No answer came forth ; and turning round, Olinthus 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 897 

beheld, by the light of the lamp, an old grey-headed ' man 
sitting on the floor, and supporting in his lap the head of 
one of the dead. The features of the dead man were 
firmly and rigidly locked in the last sleep ; but over the 
lip there played a fierce smile — not the Christian's smile of 
hope, but the dark sneer of hatred and , defiance. Yet on 
the face still lingered the beautiful roundness of early 
youth. The hair curled thick and glossy over the un- 
wrinkled brow; and the down of manhood but slightly 
shaded the marble of the hueless cheek. And over this 
face bent one of such unutterable sadness — of such yearn- 
ing tenderness — of such fond and such deep despair ! The 
tears of the old man fell fast and hot, but he did not feel 
them; and when his lips moved, and he mechanically 
uttered the prayer of his benign and hopeful faith, neither 
his heart nor his sense responded to the words : it was but 
the involuntary emotion that broke from the lethargy of 
his mind. His boy was dead, and had died for him ! — and 
the old man's heart was broken ! 

" Medon ! " said Olinthus, pityingly, " arise, and fly ! 
God is forth upon the wings of the elements ! The New 
Gomorrah is doomed ! — Fly, ere the fires consume thee ! " 

" He was ever so full of life ! — he cannot be dead ! 
Come, hither ! — place your hand on his heart ! — sure it 
beats yet?" 

" Brother, the soul has fled ! We will remember it in 
our prayers ! Thou canst not reanimate the dumb clay ! 
Come, come — hark ! while I speak, yon crashing walls ! — 
hark ! yon agonising cries ! Not a moment is to be lost ! — 
Come ! " 

" I hear nothing ! " said Medon, shaking his grey hair. 
" The poor boy, his love murdered him ! " 

" Come ! come ! forgive this friendly force." 

" What ! Who would sever the father from the son ? n 
And Medon clasped the body tightly in his embrace, and 
covered it with passionate kisses. " Go ! " said he, lifting 
up his face for one moment. " Go ! — we must be alone ! " 

" Alas ! " said the compassionate Nazarene, " Death hath 
severed ye already ! " 

The old man smiled very calmly. " No, no, no ! " ho 
muttered, his voice growing loweV with each word,- 
— " Death has been more kind ! " 

With that his head drooped on his son's breast — his 



893 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

arms relaxed their grasp. Olinthus caught him by the 
hand — the pulse had ceased to beat ! The last words of 
the father were the words of truth, — Death had been more 
kind. 

Meanwhile Glaucus and Nydia were pacing swiftly up 
the perilous and fearful streets. The Athenian had learned 
from his preserver that lone was yet in the house of 
Arbaces. Thither he fled, to release — to save her ! The 
few slaves whom the Egyptian had left at his mansion 
when he had repaired in long procession to the amphi- 
theatre, had been able to offer no resistance to the armed 
band of Sallust ; and when afterwards the volcano broke 
forth, they had huddled together, stunned and frightened, 
in the inmost recesses of the house. Even the tall Ethio- 

I)ian had forsaken his post at the door ; and Glaucus (who 
eft Nydia without — the poor Nydia, jealous once more, 
even in such an hour !) passed on through the vast hall with- 
out meeting one from whom to learn the chamber of lone. 
Even as he passed, however, the darkness that covered 
the heavens increased so rapidly, that it was with diffi- 
culty he could guide his steps. The flower-wreathed 
columns seemed to reel and tremble; and with every 
instant he heard the ashes fall cranchingly into the roofless 
peristyle. He ascended to the upper rooms — breathless 
he paced along, shouting out aloud the name of lone ; and 
at length he heard, at the end of a gallery, a voice — her 
voice, in wondering reply ! To rush forward — to shatter 
the door — to seize lone in his arms — to hurry from the 
mansion — seemed to him the work of an instant! Scarce 
had he gained the spot where Nydia was, than he heard 
steps advancing towards the house, and recognised the 
voice of Arbaces, who had returned to seek his wealth and 
lone ere he fled from the doomed Pompeii. But so dense 
was already the reeking atmosphere, that the foes saw not 
each other, though so near, — save that, dimly in the gloom, 
Glaucus caught the moving outline of the snowy robes of 
the Egyptian. 

They hastened onward — those three ! Alas ! — whither ? 
They now saw not a step before them — the blackness 
became utter. They were encompassed with doubt and 
horror ! — and the death he had escaped seemed to Glaucus 
only to have changed its form and augmented its victims. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 399 



CHAPTER VI. 

CALENTJS AND BUItBO. — DIOMED AND CLODIUS. — THE GIRL OP THE 

AMPHITHEATRE AND JULIA. 

The sudden catastrophe which had, as its were, riven 
the very bonds of society, and left prisoner and gaoler 
alike free, had soon rid Calenus of the guards to whose 
care the preetor had consigned him. And when the dark- 
ness and the crowd separated the prie3t from his atten- 
dants, he hastened with trembling steps towards the 
temple of his goddess. As he crept along, and ere the 
darkness was complete, he felt himself suddenly canght 
by the robe, and a voice muttered in his ear, — 

" Hist ! — Calenus ! — an awful hour ! " 

" Ay ! by my father's head ! Who art thou ? — thy face 
is dim, and thy voice is strange ! " 

" Not know thy Burbo ?— fie ! " 

" Gods ! — how the darkness gathers ! Ho, ho ! — by yon 
terrific mountain, what sudden blazes of lightning ! * — How 
they dart and quiver ! Hades is loosed on earth ! " 

" Tush ! — thou believest not these things, Calenus ! Now 
is the time to make our fortune ! " 

" Ha ! " 

" Listen ! Thy temple is full of gold and precious mum- 
meries ! — let us load ourselves with them, and then hasten 
to the sea and embark ! None will ever ask an account of 
the doings of this day." 

" Burbo, thou art right ! Hush ! and follow me into 
the temple. Who cares now — who sees now — whether 
thou art a priest or not ? Follow, and we will share." 

In the precincts of the temple were many priests gathered 
around the altars, praying, weeping, grovelling in the dust. 
Impostors in safety, they were not the less superstitious in 
danger ! Calenus passed them, and entered the chamber 
yet to be seen in the south side of the court. Burbo fol- 
lowed him — the priest struck a light. Wine and viands 
strewed the table ; the remains of a sacrificial feast. 

• Volcanic lightnings. These phenomena were especially the character- 
istic of the long subsequent eruption of 1779, and their evidence is visible in 
the tokens of that more awful one, now so imperfectly described. 



400 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

" A man who has hungered forty-eight hours," muttered 
Calenus, " has an appetite even in such a time." He seized 
on the food, and devoured it greedily. Nothing could, per- 
haps, be more unnaturally horrid than the selfish baseness 
of these villains ; for there is nothing more loathsome than 
the valour of avarice. Plunder and sacrilege while the 
pillars of the world tottered to and fro ! What an increase 
to the terrors of nature can be made by the vices of man ! 

" Wilt thou never have done ? " said Burbo, impatiently; 
" thy face purples and thine eyes start already." 

" It is not every day one has such a right to be hungry. 
Oh, Jupiter! what sound is that? — the hissing of fiery 
water ! What ! does the cloud give rain as well as flame! 
Ha ! — what ! shrieks ? And, Burbo, how silent all is now ! 
Look forth ! " 

Amidst the other horrors, the mighty mountain now cast 
up columns of boiling water. Blent and kneaded with the 
half -burning ashes, the streams fell like seething mud over 
the streets in frequent intervals. And full, where the 
priests of Isis had now cowered around the altars, on 
which they had vainly sought to kindle fires and pour 
incense, one of the fiercest of those deadly torrents, mingled 
with immense fragments of scoria, had poured its rage. 
Over the bended forms of the priests it dashed : that cry 
had been of death — that silence had been of eternity ! The 
ashes — the pitchy stream — sprinkled the altars, covered the 
pavement, and half concealed the quivering corpses of the 
priests ! 

" They are dead," said Burbo, terrified for the first time, 
and hurrying back into the cell. "I thought not the 
danger was so near and fatal." 

The two wretches stood staring at each other — you 
might have heard their hearts beat! Calenus, the less 
bold by nature, but the more griping, recovered first. 

" We must to our task, and away ! " he said, in a low 
whisper, frightened at his own voice. He stepped to the 
threshold, paused, crossed over the heated floor and his 
dead brethren to the sacred chapel, and called to Burbo to 
follow. But the gladiator quaked, and drew back. 

" So much the better," thought Calenus ; " the more will 
be my booty." Hastily he loaded himself with the more 
portable treasures of the temple ; and thinking no more of 
his comrade, hurried from the sacred place. A sudden 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 401 

flash of lightning from the mount showed to Burbo, who 
stood motionless at the threshold, the flying and laden form 
of the priest. He took heart ; he stepped forth to join 
him, when a tremendous shower of ashes fell right before 
his feet. The gladiator shrank back once more. Dark- 
ness closed him in. But the shower continued fast — fast ; 
its heaps rose high and suffocatingly — deathly vapours 
steamed from them. The wretch gasped for breath — he 
sought in despair again to fly — the ashes had blocked up 
the threshold — he shrieked as his feet shrank from the 
boiling fluid. How could he escape ? he could not climb 
to the open space ; nay, were he able, he could not brave 
its horrors. It were best to remain in the cell, protected, 
at least, from the fatal air. He sat down and clenched his 
teeth. By degrees, the atmosphere from without — stifling 
and venomous — crept into the chamber. He could endure 
it no longer. His eyes, glaring round, rested on a sacri- 
ficial axe, which some priest had left in the chamber : he 
seized it. With the desperate strength of his gigantic 
arm, he attempted to hew his way through the walls. 

Meanwhile, the streets were already thinned ; the crowd 
had hastened to disperse itself under shelter; the ashes 
began to fill up the lower parts of the town ; but, here and 
there, you heard the steps of fugitives cranching them 
warily, or saw their pale and haggard faces by the blue 
glare of the lightning, or the more unsteady glare of 
torches, by which they endeavoured to steer their steps. 
But ever and anon, the boiling water, or the straggling 
ashes, mysterious and gusty winds, rising and dying in a 
breath, extinguished these wandering lights, and with them 
the last living hope of those who bore them. 

In the street that leads to the gate of Herculaneum, 
Clodius now bent his perplexed and doubtful way. " If I 
can gain the open country," thought he, " doubtless there 
will be various vehicles boyond the gate, and Herculaneum 
is not far distant. Thank Mercury ! I have little to lose, 
and that little is about me ! " 

"Holla! — help there — help!" cried a querulous and 
frightened voice. I have fallen down — my torch has gone 
out — my slaves have deserted me. I am Diomed — the rich 
Diomed; — ten thousand sesterces to him who helsd 
me!" 

At the same moment, Clodius felt himself caught by 

D I) 



402 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the feet. " 111 fortune to thee, — let me go, fool," said the 
gambler. 

" Oh, help me up ! — give me thy hand ! " 

" There— rise ! " 

"Is this Clodius? I know the voice! Whither fliest 
thou ? " 

" Towards Herculaneum." 

" Blessed be the gods ! .our way is the same, then, as far 
as the gate. Why not take refuge in my villa ? Thou 
kuowest the long range of subterranean cellars beneath 
the basement — that shelter, what shower can penetrate ? " 

" You speak well," said Clodius, musingly. " And by 
storing the cellar with food, we can remain there even 
some days, should these wondrous storms endure so 
long." 

" Oh, blessed be he who invented gates to a city ! " cried 
Diomed. See ! — they have placed a light within yon arch : 
by that let us guide our steps." 

The air was now still for a few minutes : the lamp from 
the gate streamed out far and clear : the fugitives hurried 
on — they gained the gate — they passed by the Roman 
sentry ; the lightning flashed over his livid face and 
polished helmet, but ms stern features were composed even 
in their awe ! He remained erect and motionless at his 
post. That hour itself had not animated the machine of 
the ruthless majesty of Rome into the reasoning and self- 
acting man. There he stood, amidst the crashing ele- 
ments : he had not received the permission to desert his 
station and escape.* 

Diomed and his companion hurried on, when suddenly a 
female form rushed athwart their way. It was the girl 
whose ominous voice had been raised so often and so gladly 
in anticipation of " the merry show ! " 

" Oh, Diomed ! " she cried, " shelter ! shelter ! See,"— 
pointing to an infant clasped to her breast — "see this 
little one ! — it is mine ! — the child of shame ! I have never 
owned it till this hour. But iiow I remember I am a 
mother ! I have plucked it from the cradle of its nurse : 
she had fled ! Who could think of the babe in such an 
hour, but she who bore it ? Save it ! save it ! " 

" Curses on thy shrill voice ! Away, harlot ! " muttered 
Clodius between his ground teeth. 

* The skeletons of more than one sentry were found at their poets. 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII, 403 

"Nay, girl," said the more humane Diomed ; " follow if 
thou wilt. This way — this way — to the vaults ! " 

They hurried on — they arrived at the house of Diomed — 
they laughed aloud as they crossed the threshold, for they 
deemed the danger over. 

Diomed ordered his slaves to carry down into the sub- 
terranean gallery, before described, a profusion of food and 
oil for lights ; and there Julia, Clodius, the mother and 
her babe, the greater part of the slaves, and some fright- 
ened visitors and clients of the neighbourhood, sought their 
shelter. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE PROGRESS OF THE DESTRUCTION. 

The cloud, which had scattered so deep a murkincss 
over the day, had now settled into a solid and impenetrable 
mass. It resembled less even the thickest gloom of a night 
in the open air than the close and blind darkness of some 
narrow room.* But in proportion as the blackness gathered, 
did the lightnings around Vesuvius increase in their vivid 
and scorching glare. Nor was their horrible beauty con- 
fined to the usual hues of fire; no rainbow ever rivalled 
their varying and prodigal dyes. Now brightly blue as 
the most azure depth of a southern sky — now of a livid and 
snakelike green, darting restlessly to and fro as the folds 
of an enormous serpent — now of a lurid and intolerable 
crimson, gushing forth through the columns of smoke, far 
and wide, and lighting up the whole city from arch to 
arch, — then suddenly dying into a sickly paleness, like the 
ghost of their own life ! 

In the pauses of the showers, you heard the rumbling of 
the earth beneath, and the groaning waves of the tortured 
sea; or, lower still, and audible but to the watch of in- 
tensest fear, the grinding and hissing murmur of the escap- 
ing gases through the chasms of the distant mountain. 
Sometimes the cloud appeared to break from its solid mass, 
and, by the lightning, to assume quaint and vast mimicries 
of human or of monster shapes, striding across the gloom, 
hurtling one upon the other, and vanishing swiftly into the 

* Pliny. 

D D 2 



401 THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

turbulent abyss of abode ; so that, to the eyes and fancies 
of tbo affrighted wanderers, the unsubstantial vapours were 
as the bodily forms of gigantic foes, — the agents of terror 
and of death. # 

The ashes in many places were already knee deep ; and 
the boiling showers which came from the steaming breath 
of the volcano forced their way into the houses, bearing 
with them a strong and suffocating vapour. In some 
places, immense fragments of rock, hurled upon the house 
roofs, bore down along the streets masses of confusod ruin, 
which yet more and more, with every hour, obstructed the 
way ; and, as the day advanced, the motion of the earth 
was more sensibly felt — the footing seemed to slide and 
creep — nor conld chariot or litter be kept steady, even on 
the most level ground. 

Sometimes the huger stones striking against each other 
as they fell, broke into countless fragments, emitting sparks 
of fire, which caught whatever was combustible within their 
reach ; and along the plains beyond the city the darkness 
was now terribly relieved ; for several houses, and even 
vineyards, had been set on flames ; and at various intervals 
the fires rose sullenly and fiercely against the solid gloom. 
To add to this partial relief of the darkness, the citizens 
had, here and there, in the more public places, such as the 
porticos of temples and the entrances to the forum, endea- 
voured to place rows of torches ; but these rarely continued 
long ; the showers and the winds extinguished them, and 
the sudden darkness into which their sudden birth was 
converted had something in it doubly terrible and doubly 
impressing on the impotence of human hopes, the lesson of 
despair. 

Frequently, by the momentary light of these torchos, 
parties of fugitives encountered each other, some hurrying 
towards the sea, others flying from the sea back to the land; 
for the ocean had retreated rapidly from the shore — an 
utter darkness lay over it, and, upon its groaning and toss- 
ing waves the storm of cinders and rock fell without the 
protection which the streets and roofs afforded to the land. 
Wild — haggard — ghastly with supernatural fears, these 
groups encountered each other, but without the leisure to 
speak, to consult, to advise ; for the showers fell now fre- 
quently, though not continuously, extinguishing the lights, 

* Don Casaius. 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 405 

which showed to each band the death-like faces of the other, 
and hurrying all to seek refuge beneath the nearest shelter. 
The whole elements of civilisation were broken up. Ever 
and anon, by tho nickering lights, you saw the thief hasten- 
ing by the most solemn authorities of the law, laden with, 
and fearfully chuckling over, tho produce of his sudden 
gains. If, in tho darkness, wife was separated from hus- 
band, or parent from child, vain was the hope of reunion. 
Each hurried blindly and confusedly on. Nothing in all 
the various and complicated machinery of social life was 
left save the primal law of self-preservation ! 

Through this awful scene did the Athenian wade his 
way, accompanied by lone and the blind girl. Suddenly, 
a rush of hundreds, in their path to the sea, swept by them. 
Nydia was torn from the side of Glaucus, who, with lone, 
was borne rapidly onward; and when the crowd (whose 
forms they saw not, so thick was the gloom) were gone, 
Nydia was still separated from their side. Glaucus shouted 
her name. No answer came. They retraced their steps — 
in vain : they could not discover her — it was evident she 
had been swept along some opposite direction by tho human 
current. Their friend, their preserver, was lost! And 
hitherto Nydia had been their guide. Her blindness ren- 
dered tlie scene familiar to her alone. Accustomed, through 
a perpetual night, to thread the windings of the city, she 
had led them unerringly towards the sea- shore, by which 
they had resolved to hazard an escape. Now, which way 
could they wend ? all was rayless to them — a maze without 
a clue. Wearied, despondent, bewildered, they, however, 
passed along, the ashes falling upon their heads, tho 
fragmentary stones dashing up in sparkles before their 
feet. 

" Alas ! alas ! " murmured lone, " I can go no farther ; 
my steps sink among the scorching cinders. Fly, dearest ! 
— beloved, fly ! and leave me to my fate ! " 

" Hush, my betrothed ! my bride ! Death with thee is 
sweeter than life without thec ! Yet, whither — oh \ K whither, 
can we direct ourselves through the gloom ? Already it 
seems that we have made but a circle, and are in the very 
spot which we quitted an hour ago." 

" gods ! yon rock — see, it hath riven the roof before 
us ! It is death to move through the streets ! " 

" Blessed lightning ! See, lone — sec ! the portico of tho 



406 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 

Temple of Fortune is before us. Let us creep beneath it ; 
it will protect us from the showers." 

He caught his beloved in his arms, and with difficulty 
and labour gained the temple. He bore her to the remoter 
and more sheltered part of the portico, and leaned over 
her, that he might shield her, with his own form, from the 
lightning and the showers ! The beauty and the unselfish- 
ness of love could hallow even that dismal time ! 

" Who is there ? " said the trembling and hollow voice of 
one who had preceded them in their place of refuge. 
"Yet, what matters? — the crush of the ruined world 
forbids to us friends or foes. ,r 

lone turned at the sound of the voice, and, with a faint 
shriek, cowered again beneath the arms of Glaucus : and 
he, looking in the direction of the voice, beheld the cause of 
her alarm. Through the darkness glared forth two burning 
eyes — the lightning flashed and lingered athwart the 
temple — and Glaucus, with a shudder, perceived the lion to 
which he had been doomed couched beneath the pillars ; 
— and, close beside it, unwitting of the vicinity, lay the 
giant form of him who had accosted them— the wounded 
gladiator, Niger. 

That lightning had revealed to each other the form of 
beast and man ; yet the instinct of both was quelled. Nay, 
the lion crept near and nearer to the gladiator, as for com- 
panionship ; and the gladiator did not recede or tremble. 
The revolution of Nature had dissolved her lighter terrors 
as well as her wonted ties. 

While they were thus terribly protected, a group of men 
and women, bearing torches, passed by the temple. They 
were of the congregation of the Nazarencs ; and a sublime 
and unearthly emotion had not, indeed, quelled their awe, 
but it had robbed awe of fear. They had long believed, 
according to the error of the early Christians, that the Last 
Day was at hand ; they imagined now that the Day had 
come. 

" Woe ! woe ! " cried, in a shrill and piercing voice, the 
elder at their head. " Behold ! the Lord descendeth to 
judgment ! He maketh fire come down from heaven in the 
sight of men ! Woe ! woe ! ye strong and mighty ! Woe 
to ye of the fasces and the purple ! Woe to the idolater 
and the worshipper of the beast ! Woe to ye who pour 
forth the blood of saints, and gloat over the death-pangs 



THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 407 

of the sons of God ! Woe to the harlot of the sea ! — woe ! 
woe ! " 

And with a loud and deep chorus, the troop chanted 
forth along the wild horrors of the air, — "Woe to the 
harlot of the sea ! — woe ! woe ! " 

The Nazarenes paced slowly on, their torches still flick- 
ering in the storm, their voices still raised in menace and 
solemn warning, till, lost amid the windings in the streets, 
.the darkness of the atmosphere and the silence of death 
again fell over the scene. 

There was one of the frequent pauses in the showers, 
and Glaucus encouraged lone once more to proceed. Just 
as they stood, hesitating, on the last step of the portico, an 
old man, with a bag in his right hand and leaning upon a 
youth, tottered by. The youth bore a torch. Glaucus 
recognised the two as father and son — miser and prodigal. 

"Father," said the youth, "if you cannot move more 
swiftly, I must leave you, or we both perish ! " 

" Fly, boy, then, and leave thy sire ! " 

" But I cannot fly to starve ; give me thy bag of gold ! " 
And the youth snatched at it. 

" Wretch ! wouldst thou rob thy father ? " 

"Ay! who can tell the tale in this hour? Miser, 
perish ! " 

The boy struck the old man to the ground, plucked the 
bag from his relaxing hand, and fled onward with a shrill 
yell. 

" Ye gods ! " cried Glaucus : " are ye blind, then, even 
in tho dark ? Such crimes may well confound the guilt- 
less with the guilty in one common ruin. lone, on ! — on ! " 



CHAPTER VIII. 

ARDACES ENCOUNTERS GLAUCUS AND IONB. 

Advancing, as men grope for escape in a dungeon, lone 
and her lover continued their uncertain way. At the 
moments when the volcanic lightnings lingered over the 
streets, they were enabled, by that awful light, to steer and 
guide their progress: yet, little did the view it presented 
to them cheer or encourage their path. In parts, where 



408 TIIE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII. 

the ashes lay dry and uncommixed with the boiling 
torrents, cast upward from the mountain at capricious 
intervals, the surface of the earth presented a leprous and 
ghastly white. In other places, cinder and rock lay matted 
in heaps, from beneath which emerged the half -hid limbs 
of some crushed and mangled fugitive. The groans of the 
dying were broken by wild shrieks of women's terror — now 
near, now distant — which, when heard in the utter dark- 
ness, were rendered doubly appalling by the crushing sense- 
of helplessness and the uncertainty of the perils around ; 
and clear and distinct through all were the mighty and 
various noises from the Fatal Mountain ; its rushing winds ; 
its whirling torrents ; and, from time to time, the burst 
and roar of some more fiery and fierce explosion. And 
over as the winds swept howling along the street, they 
bore sharp streams of burning dust, and such sickening 
and poisonous vapours, as took away, for the instant, 
breath and consciousness, followed by a rapid revulsion of 
the arrested blood, and a tingling sensation of agony 
trembling through every nerve and fibre of the frame. 

" Oh, Glaucus ! my beloved ! my own ! — take me to thy 
arms ! One embrace ! let me feel thy arms around me — 
and in that embrace let me die — I can no more ! " 

" For my sake, for my life — courage, yet, sweet lone — 
my life is linked with thine : and see — torches — this way ! 
Lo ! how they bravo the wind ! Ha ! they live through 
the storm — doubtless, fugitives to the sea ! — we will join 
them." 

As if to aid and reanimate the lovers, the winds and 
showers came to a sudden pause ; the atmosphere was pro- 
foundly still — the mountain seamed at rest, gathering, 
perhaps, fresh fury for its next burst : the torch-bearers 
moved quickly on. "We are nearing the sea," said, in a 
calm voice, the person at their head. '* Liberty and wealth 
to each slave who survives this day ! Ccuinge ! — I tell you 
that the gods themselves have assured me of deliverance — 
On ! " 

Redly and steadily the torches flashed full on the eyes of 
Glaucus and lone, who lay trembling and exhausted on hi3 
bosom. Several slaves were bearing, by the light, panniers 
and coffers, heavily laden ; in front of them, — a drawn 
sword in his hand, — towered the lofty form of Arbaces. 

" By my fathers ! " cried the Egyptian, " Fate sm'les 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII. 409 

upon me even through these horrors, and, amidst the 
dreadest aspects of woe and death, bodes me happiness 
and love. Away, Greek ! I claim my ward, lone ! " 

" Traitor and murderer ! " cried Glaucus, glaring npon 
his foe, "Nemesis hath guided thee to my revenge! — a 
just sacrifice to the shades of Hades, that now seem loosed 
on earth. Approach — touch but the hand of lone, and thy 
weapon shall be as a reed — I will tear thee limb from 
limb ! " ' 

Suddenly, as he spoke, the place became lighted with an 
intense and lurid glow. Bright and gigantic through the 
darkness, which closed around it like the walls of hell, the 
mountain shone — a pile of fire ! Its summit .seemed riven 
in two ; or rather, above its surface there seemed to rise 
two monster shapes, each confronting each, as Demons 
contending for a World. These were of one deep blood-red 
hue of fire, which lighted up the whole atmosphere far and 
wide ; but, below, the nether part of the mountain was still 
dark and shrouded, save in three places, adown which 
flowed, serpentine and irregular,* rivers of the molten 
lava. Darkly red through the profound gloom of their 
banks, they flowed slowly on, as towards the devoted city. 
Over the broadest there seemed to spring a cragged and 
stupendous arch, from which, as from the jaws of hell, 
gushed the sources of the sudden Phlegethon. And through 
the stilled air was heard the rattling of the fragments of 
rock, hurtling one upon another as they were borne down 
the fiery cataracts — darkening, for one instant, the spot 
where they fell, and suffused the next, in the burnished 
hues of the flood along which they floated ! 

The slaves shrieked aloud, and, cowering, hid their 
faces. The Egyptian himself stood transfixed to the spot, 
the glow lighting up his commanding features and jewelled 
robes. High behind him rose a tall column that supported 
the bronze statue of Augustus ; and the imperial image 
seemed changed to a shape of fire ! 

With his left hand circled round the form of lone — 
with his right arm raised in menace, and grasping the 
stilus which was to have been his weapon in the arena, 
and which he still fortunately bore about him, with his 
brow knit, his lips apart, the wrath and menace of human 

* See note (a) at the end. 



410 THE LA8T DAYS OF POMPEII. 

passions arrested as by a charm, upon his features, Glaucus 
fronted the Egyptian ! 

Arbaces turned his eyes from the mountain — they rested 
on the form of Glaucns ! He paused a moment : " Why," 
he muttered, " should I hesitate ? Did not the stars fore- 
tell the only crisis of imminent peril to which I was 
subjected ? — Is not that peril past ? 

44 The soul," cried he aloud, "can brave the wreck of 
worlds and the wrath of imaginary gods ! By that soul 
will I conquer to the last ! Advance, slaves ! — Athenian, 
resist me, and thy blood be on thine own head ! Thus, 
then, I regain lone ! " 

He advanced one step — it was his last on earth ! The 
ground shook beneath him with a convulsion that cast all 
around upon its surface. A simultaneous crash resounded 
through the city, as down toppled many a roof and pillar ! 
— the lightning, as if caught by the metal, lingered an 
instant on tho Imperial Statue — then shivered bronze and 
column ! Down fell the ruin, echoing along the street, and 
riving the solid pavement where it crashed ! — The prophecy 
of the stars was fulfilled ! 

The sound — the shock, stunned the Athenian for several 
moments. When he recovered, the light still illumined 
the scene — the earth still slid and trembled beneath! 
lone lay senseless on the ground ; but he saw her not yet — 
his eyes were fixed upon a ghastly face that seemed to 
emerge, without limbs or trunk, from the huge fragments 
of the shattered column — a face of unutterable pain, agony, 
and despair! The eyes shut and opened rapidly, as if 
sense were not yet fled ; the lips quivered and grinned — 
then sudden stillness and darkness fell over the features, 
yet retaining that aspect of horror never to be forgotten ! 

So perished the wise Magician — the great Arbaces — the 
Hermes of the Burning Belt — the last of the royalty of 

Ugypt ! 



THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEII, 411 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE DESrAIR OF THE LOVERS. — THE CONDITION OF THE 

MULTITUDE. 

Glaucus turned in gratitude but in awe, caught lone 
once more in his arms, and fled along the street, that was 
yet intensely luminous. But suddenly a duller shade fell 
over the air. Instinctively he turned to the mountain, and 
behold ! one of the two gigantic crests, into which the 
summit had been divided, rocked and wavered to and fro ; 
and then, with a sound, the mightiness of which no 
language can describe, it fell from its burning base, and 
rushed, an avalanche of fire, down the sides of the moun- 
tain ! At the same instant gushed forth a Y°l um e of 
blackest smoke — rolling on, over air, sea, and earth. 

Another 1 — and another — and another shower of ashes 
far more profuse than before, scattered fresh desolation 
along the streets. Darkness once more wrapped them as 
a veil ; and Glaucus, his bold heart at last quelled and 
despairing, sank beneath the cover of an arch, and, clasp- 
ing lone to his heart — a bride on that couch of ruin — 
resigned himself to die. 

Meanwhile Nydia, when separated by the throng from 
Glaucus and lone, had in vain endeavoured to regain 
them. In vain she raised that plaintive cry so peculiar to 
the blind ; it was lost amidst a thousand shrieks of more 
selfish terror. Again and again she returned to the spot 
where they had been divided — to find her companions 
gone, to seize every fugitive — to inquire of Glaucus — to be 
dashed aside in the impatience of distraction. Who in 
that hour spared one thought to his neighbour ? Perhaps 
in scenes of universal horror, nothing is more horrid than 
the unnatural selfishness they engender. At length it 
occurred to Nydia, that as it had been resolved to seek the 
sea-shore for escape, her most probable chance of rejoining 
her companions would be to persevere in that direction. 
Guiding her steps, then, by the staff which she always 
carried, she continued, with incredible dexterity, to avoid 
the masses of ruin that encumbered the path — to thread 
the streets — and unerringly (so blessed now was that 



412 THE LAST DAYS OP POMPEIL 

accustomed darkness, so afflicting in ordinary life!) to 
take the nearest direction to the sea-side. 

Poor girl ! — her courage was beautiful to behold ! — and 
Fate seemed to favour one so helpless ! The boiling tor- 
rents touched her not, save by the general rain which 
accompanied them ; the huge fragments of scoria shivered 
the pavement before and beside her, but spared that frail 
form: and when the lesser ashes fell over her,' she shook 
them away with a slight tremor,* and dauntlessly resumed 
her course. 

Weak, exposed, yet fearless, supported but by one wish, 
she was a very emblem of Psyche in her wanderings ; of 
Hope, walking through the Valley of the Shadow ; of the 
Soul itself — lone but undaunted, amidst the dangers and 
the snares of life ! 

Her path was, however, constantly impeded by the 
crowds that now groped amidst the gloom, now fled in the 
temporary glare of the lightnings across the scene ; and, at 
length, a group of torch-bearers rushing full against her, 
she was thrown down with some violence. 

" "What ! " said the voice of one of the party, " is this 
the brave blind girl ! By Bacchus, she must not be left 
here to die ! Up I my Thessalian ! So — so. Are you 
hurt ? That's well ! Come along with us ! we are for the 
shore ! " 

" Sal lust ! it is thy voice ! The gods be thanked ! 
Glaucus ! Glaucus ! have ye seen him ? " 

" Not I. He is doubtless out of the city by this time. 
The gods who saved him from the lion will save him from 
the burning mountain." 

As the kindly epic are thus encouraged Nydia, he drew 
her along with him towards the sea, heeding not her pas- 
sionate entreaties that he would linger yet awhile to search 
for Glaucus ; and still, in the accent of despair, she con- 
tinued to shriek out that beloved name, which, amidst all 
the roar of the convulsed elements, kept alive a music at 
her heart. 

The sudden illumination, t\e bursts of the floods of lava, 
and the earthquake, which we have already described, 
chanced when Sallust and his party had just gained the 

* " A heavy shower of a